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TiItl^T H Y 




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Original Art by 

Allen Atwell & 
Michael Green 

New Edition Art 

by Howard Hallis 




Berkeley California USA 

Published by 

Ronm Publishing, Inc. 

P.O. Box 1035 
Berkeley, CA 94701 

High Priest 

ISBN 0-914171-80-2 
Copyright 1968 and 1995 
by Timothy Leary, Ph.D. 
(The Original Edition was 
published in 1968 by The 
New American Library in 
association with The World 
Publishing Company.) 

All rights reserved. No part 
oF this book may be repro- 
duced or transmitted in any 
form or by any means, elec- 
tronic or mechanical, includ- 
ing photocopying, recording, 
or by any information stor- 
age and retrieval system, 
without written permission 
From the publisher, except 
For the inclusion oF brieF 
quotations in a review. 

Credits For Ronin Edition 

Project Editors 

Sebastian OrFali cV 
Beverly Potter 

Front Matter Design & Type 

Judy July 

Original Edition Illustrations 

Allen Atwell & Michael Green 

New Edition Illustrations 

Howard Hallis 

Cover Design 

Brian Groppe 

Original Edition Copyright Notices: 

Excerpts from The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri, translated by Lawrence 
Grant White, reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc. Excerpts from The 
Magus by John Fowles reprinted by permission of Little, Brown, and Company. 
Excerpts from Steppenwolft by Hermann Hesse, translated by Basil Creighton, 
Copyright 1927, 1957 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.; reprinted by permis- 
sion of Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. "Within and Without" by Hermann 
Hesse, Copyright 1954 by Suhrkamp Verlag. Excerpts from Doors oft Perception 
by Aldous Huxley, Copyright 1954, reprinted by permission of Harper G Row. 
Excerpts from Island by Aldous Huxley, Copyright 1962, reprinted by permis- 
sion of Harper G Row. Excerpts from The Lotus and the Robot by Arthur 
Koestler, Copyright 1961 by Arthur Koestler, reprinted by permission of The 
Macmillan Company. Excerpts from The Epic o$ Gilgamesh, translated by N.K. 
Sandars, reprinted by permission of Penguin Books Ltd. Excerpts from The 
Reunions oj Man by Huston Smith, Copyright 1958, reprinted by permission 
of Harper G Row. Excerpts from The Lord ojj the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 
reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. Excerpts from The 
1 Ching or The Book oft Changes, translated by R. Wilhelm and C.F. Baynes, 
Bollingen Series XIX (Princeton University Press, 1967), Copyright 1950, 1967 
by The Bollingen Foundation, New York; reprinted by permission of Princeton 
% University Press. Excerpts from "Minutes To Go" by William Burroughs reprint- 
ed by permission of Beach Books, Texts G Documents. Excerpts from the 
Boston Herald Traveler reprinted by permission of the Boston Herald Traveler 
Corporation. Excerpts from "LSD-Hollywood's Status Drug" (Cosmopolitan, 
September, 1963), Copyright 1963 by Hearst Magazines, Inc.; reprinted by per- 
mission of Cosmopolitan. Excerpts from the writings of Allen Ginsberg 
reprinted by permission of the author. Excerpts from letters of Michael 
Hollingshead reprinted by permission of the author. Excerpts from Inner 
Space reprinted by permission of The Rt. Rev. Michael Augustine Francis Itkin. 
Excerpts from an interview with Timothy Leary originally appeared in Playboy 
magazine; Copyright 1966 by HMH Publishing Co. Inc.; reprinted by permis- 
sion of Playboy. Excerpts from "The Hallucinogenic Drug Cult" by Noah 
Gordon (The Reporter, August 15, 1963), Copyright 1963 by The Reporter 
Magazine Company; reprinted by permission of The Reporter and the author. 
Excerpts from "Return Trip to Nirvana" by Arthur Koestler reprinted by permis- 
sion of the Sunday Telegraph, London. Excerpts from "Instant Mysticism" 
(Time, October 25, 1963) and "An Epidemic of Acid Heads" (Time, March 11, 
1966); Copyright 1963 by Time, Inc.; Copyright 1966 by Time, Inc.; reprinted 
by permission of Time, Inc. Illustration facing pages 46 and 184: Courtesy of 
Richard Davis Studio. Illustration facing page 128: Courtesy of Fred W. 
McDarrah. Portions of Trip 6 appeared in Csquire Magazine. 



This manuscript was entrusted to: 

My Beloved Daughter, Susan Leary 

and to 

My Beloved Son, Jack Leary 


Now the manuscript is passed, by them, to: 

Dieadra Martino 

Ashley Martino 

Sara Brown 

Brett Leary 

Annie Leary 

Davina-Susana Martino 

iv High Priest Timothy Leary 

William Burroughs 


the events related in this history reflect the collective consciousness 
and collaborative behavior of several thousand people spiritual 
researchers who have shared dark confusions and bright hopes, given 
their emotion, muscle, brain, and risked scorn and social isolation to pursue the 
psychedelic yoga. 

Homage and gratitude to these fellow explorers. 

Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner have participated in every phase of the long 
ascent and continue to climb higher. His-story is their story. 

Three tender elvish flowers, Rosemary Woodruff, Susan Leary, and Jack Leary, 
have endured the harshest ordeals of the journey at home and in prison and 
have survived, blossoming. 

Loving thanks to the psychologists and religious philosophers who have coun- 
seled at our centers in Cambridge, Boston, Zihuatanejo, Antigua, Millbrook, and 

The original art for this manuscript is the illuminated work of Allen Atwell and 
Michael Green. 

The editorial acts of love were performed by Susan Firestone, Lorraine 
Schwartz, and Jean McCreedy. 

The psychedelic revolution is a religious renaissance of the young, for the 
young, by the young. This volume presents Old Testament background for the new 
witness of those born after 1946, children of the Atomic Age. 

The authentic priests, the real prophets of this great movement are the rock- 
and-roll musicians. Acid-rock is the hymns, odes, chants of the turned-on love gen- 
eration. For the first time in history, teen-agers (our new advanced mutant species) 
have written their own songs, beat their own rhythm, created their own religion. 

The work of the psychedelic scholar-politicians (described in this history) is 
over, with love and confidence we turn our work and our planet over to the young 
and their prophets: 


The Beatles 

The Byrds 

The Rolling Stones 

The Beach Boys 

The Jefferson Airplane 

The Mamas and the Papas 

The Grateful Dead 

Moby Grape 

The Daily Flash 

The Doors 

Country Joe and the Fish 

Charlie Lloyd 

The Monkees 


The Association 

Buffalo Springfield 

The Animals 

Big Brother and the Holding Company 

The Quicksilver Messenger Service 

and many other ecstatic combinations. 


Smashing Pumpkins 


Edward Ka-Spel 

Tear Garden 

Skinny Puppy 



Cabaret Voltaire 

Throbbing Gristle 


A Tribe Called Quest 

De La Soul 

Digable Planets 

Nine Inch Nails 



Future Sounds of London 

Aphex Twins 



Dead Can Dance 

The Cocteau Twins 

This Mortal Coil 

Wolfgang Press 



Blues Traveller 

Luscious Jackson 

The Beastie Boys 

Sonic Youth 


Jeff Beck 

The Cult 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 

John Zorn 

Elliot Sharp 

Glenn Branca 

Dr. Fiorella Terenzi 

Dr. Susumu Ohno 

Soul Asylum 

Revolting Cocks 

Camper Van Beethoven 

The Plastic Ono Band 

Blind Lemon Jefferson 


Syd Barrett 


Iron Butterfly 

Strawberry Alarm Clock 

The Carrie Nations 

The Who 

Bob Dylan 

Crosby Stills Nash and Young 

Creedence Clearwater Revival 

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention 

The Soft Machine 

viii High Priest Timothy Leary 

Laura & Aldous Huxley 


We transmit the 1995 re-issue of High priest with a certain amused, 
confused, apologetic wonder. 
This collection of Neuro-Adventure Stories was first published in 1968 by 
World Publishing -NAL. 

It was Re-Issued, Re-Animated in 1995 by Ronin Publishing. I am grateful for 
the visionary friendship of Beverly Potter and Sebastian Orfali and the graphic- 
prowess of Howard Hallis. 

The "Acknowledgements" for the ancient 1968 version declaimed, "The psy- 
chedelic revolution is a religious renaissance of the young, for the young, by the 
young. This volume presents Old Testament background for the new witness of 
those born after 1946. . . ." 

Thus, 27 years ago, did we pompously, parentally, announce the Birth of 
the Baby Boomers! So Pass out the Loaded Cigars. 
Here's more '68 pulpit-parent sermonizing. 

"The authentic priests, the real prophets oF this great 
movement are the rock-and-roll musicians. . . . 
For the First time in history (!), teen-agers (our new 
advanced mutant species) have written their own songs, 
beat their own rhythm, created their own religion." 

And then came the solemn-inspirational Locker-Room Exhortation. 

"The work oF the psychedelic scholar-politicians 
(described in this history) is over. . . ." 

With love and confidence we turn our work and our planet (?) over to the 
young and their prophets: (the rock n rollers). 

x High. Priest * Timothy Leary 

The 1968 edition celebrated 19 rock groups: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, 
The Monkees, etc. 

Ok. These pronouncements were breathless, pious, embarrassingly grandiose. 
But they did lurch in the right direction. The inevitable future. 

The '60s Youth Movement did change human culture. It did, among other 
things, popularize-legitimize this astonishing concept of "New Generation" as a 
major cultural issue. Globally. 


It is hard for us to realize that this concept that each generation of Teen- 
Agers Re-Creates a New Culture was not a major historical 
force before the 20th Century. For example, in the slow-witted 1975 edition of "The 
New (?) Columbia Encyclopedia" the only reference to this explosive word refers to 
the "Generation of 1898", in Spain! 


My charming, elegant, educated, worldly, Irish-Catholic grandparents, Sarah 
Rooney S Dennis Leary, did not imagine that they belonged to a "generation". 

Dutiful Catholic teen-agers of the Victorian Age, 1860-1890, danced, dressed, 
courted the way their parents (and the Protestants) did. 

Polkas & Waltzes! 

And their coming-of-age trips were not to Woodstock or Katmandu. Like the 
Protestants they read about in the papers, they dutifully sailed to Europe on the 
traditional Cunard steamships and made the classical, obligatory "trips" to the 
Louvre, the Vatican Museums and the Opera Houses. 


Just recently I learned that my sophisticated Aunt Betty died in 1923 of a 
cocaine overdose! Betty in her scandalous trips to Paris, New York and Reno (for a 
semi-legal divorce) was a "hell-raising", "whoopee", sophisticated "flapper". A duti- 
ful member of the Roaring '20s counter-culture: THE "LOST" GENERATION. 

New) Acknowledgements xi 

This catchy term was invented by a certain Gertrude Stein, an astute, brave, 
scientifically-trained sister who flaunted lesbian credentials and courageously glo- 
rified the concept of Counter-Culture. 

My darling, beloved parents, Abigail 8 Timothy, were part of this new culture. 
These pious, prudish, patriotic, middle-class Catholics openly swigged the major 
illegal drug of the time! And they smoked cigarettes (not in public, for ladies, of 

Abby and Tote belonged to the first cohort to understand generational differ- 
ences. They called it "progress", i.e. Model T Fords, canned goods, lip-stick(I). 

My parents (silently) knew they were different from their parents. They were 
the first generation in human history to listen to radio and talk via electric 
wires. They smoked and drank like the film stars. Their Radio Broadcasts were lec- 
tures or symphony concerts. They were "teened" too soon to be imprinted by 
Decca Records playing Jazz and Dixieland. 

Television? No way! My parents stubbornly rejected TV like suspicious primi- 
tives. The way Literary People today fear computers. 

It is interesting to recall that those magic terms BOHEMIANS 8 LOSJ 
GENE^AJION were applied to upper-middle-class adults. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest 
Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Mabel Dodge, D.H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, 
William Butler Yeats, Ford Maddox Ford, Georgia O'Keeffe, the Expressionist 
painters, the jazz musicians. None of these "avant-garde", cultural innovators were 


For example, the psychedelic experiences described in High PRjESf were 
organized and made credible by people who "teened" 1920-1940. The quaint, schol- 
arly attitude of this book emerged from sages like Walter Clark, Frank Barron, 
Aldous S Laura Huxley, Gordon Wasson, Arthur Koestler, Allen Ginsberg, Harry 
Murray, Houston Smith, Sri Gayatri Devi, Alan Watts, William S. Burroughs, And me. 

In i960 we Middle-Aged, Middle-Class, Naive, White, Harvard Faculty 
Intellectuals expected that psychedelic drugs would be used by Academic Scholarly 
Adults who had read William James ("Varieties of Religious Experience") and the 
Pop-Hindu and Pop-Bhuddist texts. Our mission was to train graduate students to 

xii High Priest + Timothy Leary 

Alan Watts 

High Priest + Timothy Leary xiii 

use psychedelic drugs as tools for research, psychotherapy and mystical experi- 

It never occurred to us that a new post-war generation who grew up with 
Television would use psychedelics as a rite-of-passage. Turn On. Fine Tune. Off-On, 
Drop Out. 

We indulgent parents unwittingly produced: 


The Woodstock Generation shocked and scorned us "square" parents. Then, in 
turn, the Hippies grew up and produced children. 


And these Disco-Punkers of the cocaineyos and the booze-crack '80s grew up 
scorning their hippy-dippy parents. 

And now, in the 1990s we welcome the next New Breed! 


Today, with wary anticipation, we watch this mysterious info-matic new breed, 
in front of computer screens, feeding neuro-enriched light-waves to their hungry 
brains. Fine-tuning, scanning, melding, morphing technicolored Screen Images. 
Linked into the InterNet, exchanging new light-speed realities. 

May we humbly hope that they will up-load a few shards and fragments of 
these archaeological Hi^h Priest chips and around ten other story- 
books by the author on the World Wide Web. 

CUA Round. 

xiv High Priest * Timothy Leary 

Gordon Wasson 


Rosemary Leary 

Barbara Leary 

Joi Ito, Momoko Ito f 

Scott 8 Mimi Fisher 

Denis Berry 

Coco Conn 

Barbara Fouch 8 

John Roseboro 

Mimi 8 Tom Davis 

William Burroughs 

James Grauerholtz 


Kim-Lisa Ferguson 

Wilder 8 Christian 

Ron Turner 

Lesley Meyers 

Mondo 8 Jas Morgan 

Nancy-Barry Sanders 


Ken R.U.S. Goffman 

Queen Mu-Steve B. 

Doug Ruschkoff 

Eliot Mintz 

Anita Hoffman 

Paul Kantner 

Yoko, Sean, Camella 

All The Glam-Glitter 

Debbie 8 Bill Gibson 

Alexa 8 Tom Robbins 

David Prince 

Shauna-Norman Hajjar 

Al Jourgeson 

Perry Farrell 

Bob Guccione, Jr. 

R. Crumb 

Jaron Lanier 

Pat 8 George Milman 

John Perry Barlow 

Doris V. 8 Ian 

Eldridge Cleaver 

Paul Krassner 

Deric De Kerchove 

Mark Dippe 

Wes Takahashi 

Dudley Danof 

Ralph Mendez 

Nancy 8 Steve Ditlea 

Leroy Bobbitt 

Brian Fargo 

Bruce Eisner 

Shari Lewis 8 

Jeremy Tarcher 

Chris Blackwell 

Faye 8 Ken Kesey 

Aileen 8 Ken Babbs 

Jim Bauer 
Sandra 8 Hilly Elkin 

xv i High. Priest Timothy Leary 

Allen Ginsberg 


By the late '40s of this memory Century the people I knew best and loved most had 
already broken thru the crust of old Reasons S were dowsing for some Supreme 
Reality, Christmas on Earth Rimbaud said, Second Religiousness according to Spengler's outline of 
civilization declining through proliferation of non-human therefore boring technology; Blake had 
called "0 Earth Earth return!" centuries before, echoing the ancient gnostic prophecy that 
Whitman spelled out for America specifically demanding that the Steam-engine "be confronted and 
met by at least an equally subtle and tremendous force-infusion for purposes of spiritualization, 
for the pure conscious, for genuine aesthetics, and for absolute and primal manliness and woman- 
liness" Ezra Pound's mind jumped to diagnose the dimming of the world's third Eye: "With Usura 
the line grows thick." 

One scholar who transmitted Blake's kabbalah, S. Foster Damon, could remember his sudden 
vision of tiny flowers carpeting Harvard Yard violet before World War One, an image that lingered 
over 60 years in mind since his fellow student Virgil Thomson gave him the cactus peyote to eat. 
Damon concluded that rare beings like Blake are born with physiologic gift of vision, continuous or 
intermittent. William James, whose pragmatic magic probably called the Peyote God to Harvard in 
the first place, had included shamanistic chemical visions among the many authentic "Varieties of 
Religious Experience." His student Gertrude Stein experimented in alteration of consciousness 
through mindfulness of language, an extremely effective Yoga since mechanical reproduction of 
language by XX Century had made language the dominant vehicle of civilized consciousness; her 
companion Alice B. Toklas contributed a cookbook recipe for Hashish Brownies to enlighten those 
persons over-talkative in drawing rooms unaware that "the medium is the message." 

This synchronism is exquisite: William S. Burroughs also once of Harvard shared Miss Stein's 
mindfulness of the hypnotic drug-like power of language, and collaborated on cut-up rearrange- 
ment of stereotyped language forms with friend Brion Gysin, who had originally given Miss Toklas 
the recipe for her famous Brownies. Burroughs among others had begun experiments with drug- 
shamanism after World War Two for the author of "Naked Lunch" it was a pragmatic extension of 
his Cambridge interest in linguistic Anthropology. That same gnostic impulse broke through to 
clear consciousness simultaneously in many American cities: Gary Snyder realized the entire uni- 
verse was alive one daybreak 1948 in Portland when a flight of birds rose out of the stillness in a 

xviii High Priest Timothy Leary 

gully by the city river, a natural vision The masters of the Berkeley Renaissance read Gertrude 
Stein aloud and practiced Poetic kabbalah (charming synchronism that psychologist Timothy Leary 
met poets Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan in that same 1948 student scene) Neal Cassady drove 
Jack Kerouac to Mexico in a prophetic automobile to see the physical body of America, the same 
Denver Cassady that one decade later drove Ken Kesey's Kosmos-patterned schoolbus on a Kafka- 
circus tour over the roads of the awakening nation And that wakening began, some say, with the 
first saxophone cry of the new mode of black music which shook the walls of white city mind 
when Charles Parker lifted his birdflightnoted horn 8 announced a new rhythm of thinking, an 
extended breathing of the body in music and speech, a new consciousness. For as Plato had writ, 
"When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake." 

The new consciousness born in these States can be traced back through old gnostic texts, 
visions, artists, 8 shamans; it is the consciousness of our ground nature suppressed 8 desecrated. It 
was always the secret tale of the tribe in America, this great scandal of the closing of the doors of 
perception of the Naked Human Form Divine. It began with the white murder of Indian inhabitants 
of the ground, the theft and later usurious exploitation of their land, it continued with an assault 
on all races and species of Mother Nature herself and concludes today with total disruption of the 
ecology of the entire planet. No wonder black slaves kept for non-human use into this century in 
tear-gassed ghettos of megalopolis were the first Aliens to sound the horn of Change, the first 
Strangers to Call the Great Call through Basilides' many Heavens. Amazing synchronism again, that 
Mr. Frank Takes Gun, Native American Church amerindian Peyote Chief, invited the brilliantly talk- 
ative silver-haired psychiatrist who directed a Saskatchewan mental hospital in the 1940's to partic- 
ipate in a Peyote ritual, and that same Dr. Humphrey Osmond having recognized a wonder of con- 
sciousness thus experienced passed on the catalyst in Mescaline synthetic form to Aldous Huxley; 
and that Huxley's 1945 essay on the chemical opening of the Doors of Perception found its way to 
the tables of Bickford's Cafeteria Times Square New York 8 the couches of Reed College and 
Berkeley, where artist persons, having heard the Great Call of the African American, already initiat- 
ed themselves en masse to subtle gradations of their own consciousness experienced while smok- 
ing the same Afric hemp smoked by Charles Parker Thelonious Monk 8 Dizzy Gillespie. 

Dr. Timothy Leary takes up his part of the tale of the tribe in a Mexican hut and brings his 
discovery to Harvard harmoniously and there begins the political battle, black and white magic 
become public visible for a generation. Dr. Leary is a hero of American consciousness. He began as 
a sophisticated academician, he encountered discoveries in his field which confounded him and his 
own technology, he pursued his studies where attention commanded, he arrived beyond the 
boundaries of public knowledge. One might hesitate to say, like Socrates, like Galileo? poor Dr. 

Foreword xix 

Leary, poor Earth! Yet here we are in Science Fiction History, in the age of Hydrogen Bomb 
Apocalypse, the very Kali Yuga wherein man's stupidity so overwhelms the planet that ecological 
catastrophe begins to rehearse old tribes-tales of Karmaic retribution, Fire 8 Flood 8 Armageddon 

It would be natural (in fact deja vu) that the very technology stereotyping our consciousness 
8 desensitizing our perceptions should throw up its own antidote, an antidote synthetic such as 
LSD synchronous with mythic tribal Soma 8 Peyote. Given such historic Comedy, who could emerge 
form Harvard technology but one and only Dr. Leary, a respectable human being, a worldly man 
faced with the task of Messiah. Inevitable! Not merely because the whole field of mental psycholo- 
gy as a "science" had arrived at biochemistry anyway. It was inevitable because the whole profes- 
sional civilized world, like Dr. Leary, was already faced with the Messianic task of accelerated evo- 
lution (i.e., psychosocial Revolution) including an alteration of human consciousness leading to the 
immediate mutation of social 8 economic forms. This staggering realization, psychedelic, i.e., con- 
scious expanding 8 mind-manifesting in itself, without the use of chemical catalysts, was then 
forced on all of us by images of our own unconscious rising from the streets of Chicago, where city 
tear gas was dumped on Christ's very Cross in Lincoln Park AD 1968. The drains are backing up in 
the cities, smog noise and physiologic poison in food turn us to insect acts, overpopulation crazes 
the planet, our lakes corrupt, old riverways become dark fens, tanks entered Prague and Chicago 
streets simultaneous, Police State arrives in every major city, starvation wastes African provinces, 
Chinese genocide in Tibet mirrored American genocide in Vietnam, Alarm! Alarm! howls deep as 
any Biblic prophecy. 

Ourselves caught in the giant machine are conditioned to its terms, only holy vision or tech- 
nological catastrophe or revolution break "the mind-forg'd manacles." Given one by-product of the 
technology that might, as it were by feed-back, correct the berserk machine and liberate the inven- 
tor's mind from captivity by hypnotic robots, Dr. Leary had in LSD an invaluable civilized elixir. For, 
as Dr. Jiri Roubichek observed early in Prague ("Artificial Psychosis," 1958), "LSD inhibits condi- 
tioned reflexes." And this single phrase, for rational men, might be the key to the whole gnostic 
mystery of LSD and Dr. Leary's role as unique, alas solitary, courageous, humane 8 frank 
Democratic Boddhisatva-teacher of the uses of LSD in America. For he took on himself the noble 
task of announcing the evidence of his senses despite the scary contumely of fellow academicians, 
the dispraising timorous irony of scientific "professionals," the stupidity meanness self-serving 
cowardice and hollow vanity of bureaucratic personnel from Harvard Yard to Mexico City to 
Washington, from the violent-mouthed burglar-Prosecutor G. Gordon Liddy working with the igno- 
rant Sheriff's Office in Dutchess County NY to the inner greedy sanctums of the US Treasury 

xx High Rriest Timothy Leary 

Department in D.C., our whole "establishment" of civilization that defends us from knowledge of 
our own unconscious by means of policemen's clubs, and would resist the liberation of our minds 
and bodies by any brutish means available including teargas, napalm 8 the Hydrogen Bomb. 

Dr. Leary conducted himself fairly 8 equitably, given the extremity of his knowledge, it took 
an innocent courage to explore his own unconditioned consciousness, to take LSD and other chem- 
icals often enough to balance praxis as well as explanation, and to attempt to wed the enormity of 
his experience to Reason. An heroic attempt to communicate clearly and openly through civilized 
technologic media to his fellow citizens, despite centuries of identity brainwash accelerated now to 
mass paranoia and Cold War Apocalypse, required of Dr. Leary the proverbial wisdom of serpent 8 
harmlessness of dove. 

Timothy Leary tells the tale of his tribe in book aptly titled The Politic* Ofj Cc6ta&y, 8 events 
enlarged since he wrote his book and chose its title charge the author's handiwork with prophetic 
enormity. The battle of generations that erupted in 1968 simultaneously in Prague, Chicago, Mexico 
City, Paris, New York (and Moscow underground) everywhere the State's electronic consciousness 
was interlinked transcended antique battles of Cold War and Race. We witnessed planetary con- 
frontation wherein controlling Elders trapped in a suicidal mechanical consciousness deployed 
their destructive technology against their own children in the streets of their own cities. 'Tis 
Blake's Urizen tormenting tender Los in Eternity! New generations have risen spontaneous with 
new consciousness and a mutant politics of flower power that is rooted in the ground of human 
consciousness itself: an acceptance of human identity as one with green living nature on a living 
planet where all creatures are a living God. The public philosophies and technologies of all civi- 
lized Governments at present are at war with this God, and the planet itself is within decades of 
destruction. No wonder there was sudden appearance of Adamic hair. Eve walked naked in the 
streets; ancient body-rhythms beat out thru the airwaves in electric mantric Rock from Bratislava 
to San Francisco, 8 youths ingested shamanistic elixirs to recover consciousness of planetary arche- 

One politic synchronism that concerns this text should be gossiped forth contextual. Timothy 
Leary quit public life to write a book in Mexico some years ago but he was searched by Agents of 
Government as he went to cross borders, arrested for possession of some herb, and thus forced to 
interrupt his writing, returned to public action, and defend his person by attack from by the State. 
So he traveled to academies and lectured to the young, 8 thus he paid large legal fees required by 
the State 8 thus maintained an Ashram of fellow seekers well known in Millbrook. Agents of 
Government then raided and repeatedly abused the Millbrook Utopia, whereupon Dr. Leary was 
obliged to be Dr. Leary and lecture more to raise money for his family of imprisoned friends. 

Foreword xxi 

Agents of Government concluded this phase of prosecution with a piece of Socratic irony so bla- 
tantly echoing an old Greek injustice that the vulgar rhetoric of a Tyrannous State would need 
only be quoted to be recognized, were it not for the fact that these States were then so plagued 
with Tyrannously inspired chaos and public communication so flooded with images of State 
Atrocity from the alleys of Saigon to the parks of Chicago that official public conscience here now, 
as memorably in Russia and Germany, was shocked, dumbed S amnesiac. I quote from the Spring 
1968 State Document in any case for the delectation of gnostic Cognoscenti, that is to say myriads 
of the present young: 

To Hon. Edw. W. Wadsworth 

Clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit 

Room 408400 Royal Street 

New Orleans, LA 70130 

Re: No. 23570 

Timothy LearyVs United States of America 

. . .We are applying for an order from the District Court requiring the Defendant to sur- 
render to the United States Marshal . . . 

The appellant continues his publicized activities involving the advocacy of the use of psy- 
chedelic drugs by students and others of immature judgment and tender years and is regarded 

as a menace to the community so long as he is at large 

Very truly yours, 
Morton L. Sussman 
United States Attorney 

By: James R. Gough, Asst. U.S. ATTY. 

Chief, Appeals Research Division 

Thus requesting revocation of Dr. Leary's bail'd liberty while his political-religious defense 
for possession of an herb approached Supreme Court, Agents of Government checked further con- 
versation with the young. The Millbrook Ashram having been simultaneously dispersed by Agents 
of Government, his immediate financial responsibilities lightened, Timothy Leary retired back 
home to Berkeley with his mate and completed his description of The Politics Of Ecstasy. 

A twin book, High Pr'mt, was also finished in 1968; in Hi$h Prieit Dr. Leary composed letters 
anecdotes conversations and personal letters together into a number of chapters concerning 
friends and colleagues in worlds of science and art, 8 presented his history of consciousness-alter- 
ing drug Fate in the course of a decade's official and unofficial experiments from Mexico thru 
Harvard thru Millbrook. His prose by now more supple than before, the book's collage structure 
contains generous exegesis of the persons and events of a psychedelic brotherhood and scientific 

xx ii High Rriest Timothy Leary 

confreres that altered the consciousness of that American decade. 

Next year his legal appeal reached the Supreme Court, in May 1969 the Law under which he 
was arrested was ruled unconstitutional. Government attack on his person continued, 8 Dr. Leary 
was arrested and subsequently tried, convicted and sentenced to ten years without appeal bail by 
Judge Byron McMillan of Orange County for possession of two marijuana cigarette stubs planted 
in his car ashtray by a California policeman. Federal authorities chose to retry Dr. Leary on his 
Laredo arrest on another technicality, this time not for failure to report natural grass for govern- 
ment tax, but on the charge of "transporting" a smidgeon of marijuana the few hundred yards from 
the middle of the International Bridge to the Customs Shed where he had been detained years ear- 
lier. Convicted in Texas trial, our philosopher was sentenced by Judge Ben Connally to ten years 
also; both sentences set consecutively, bail denied, Dr. Leary at time of this writing was jailed in 
California from February 19, 1970. Terminology of both judges agreed with government lawyers' 
boorish language that Dr. Leary was a "menace to the community." Bail denial was successfully 
appealed in the Texas case, and as of August 7, 1970 bail was (perhaps) to be granted by some 
Supreme Court for California despite United States Attorney's obnoxious plea that our philosopher 
"represents a danger to other persons and to the community."* 

The text of United State* ofl America, Appellee's OPPOSITION TO APPLICATION FOR BAIL 
PENDING APPEAL contained the following hideous paragraph ii (e) "Attached hereto as Exhibit D-i 
is a copy of an article purportedly authored by Timothy Leary in Playboy magazine in which he dis- 
cussed the facts giving rise to the case at bar, and which bears also upon his aims and activities 
which are at the basis for the Government's opposition to his release in bail." Further documents 
appended included Dr. Leary's pacifist testimony at the celebrated Chicago Conspiracy trial, 8 news 
reports of various university lectures including one at Ann Arbor, Michigan early 1971 whereat Dr. 
Leary discoursed to raise funds for legal appeals for the poet John Sinclair also jailed for several 
decades and denied appeal bail after conviction for a year earlier for having been entrapped giving 
two joints to a local bearded agent who'd infiltrated his multiracial Detroit Artists' Workshop. 
Another disgusting document appended was a secret agent's report to the Laguna Beach Police 
Department "concerning additional suspects involved in the BROTHERHOOD OF RELIGIOUS LOVE. 
Refer to attached report for additional detail." 

Such a hexed country! "Judge McMillan labeled Leary an insidious and detrimental influence 
on society," quoth LA. Timed February 20, 1970, and a "pleasure seeking, irresponsible Madison 
Avenue advocate of the free use of LSD," quoth Long Beach Pre&& March 17 same year. 

Suffering armed fools cheerfully, Dr. Leary's made an exquisite religious covenant in jail. 
"Imprinting" as ontological key is suggested, 8 re-imprinting via Biological mouth-intake (food 

Foreword xxiii 

chemistry) is proposed as proper philosophic action. Hardly an affair of State were we only to 
know State in theory. Leary's jail texts economically define use and role of LSD; here's formal psy- 
chological discussion of character-alteration by means of insight-creating drugs, such discussion 
related to Socrates' discussion at deathbed 8 texts on Catholic Hell Punishment, these juxtaposed 
with Judiciary reality of Jail society; all accomplished in professional manner with saintly aplomb. 

What's going on in his head? Day to day observation of Heavy Metal Fix the inside facts of 
jail compassionate shrewd analysis of Charles Manson as jail-conditioned soul. A few gists 8 piths: 
"psychopharmacology plus bio-rhythmic sequential analysis Alchemy 8 Astrology." Dr. Leary's 
notes include disquisitions on Hell from Church Fathers paralleled with prison weather, as if 
prison were that Hell spoken of old incarnate now in minds of State Judge 8 Jailers thoughts 
interleaved with quotations from official rejection letters aren't mailed thru jail walls. Dr. Leary 
touches a few political nerves J.E. Hoover "a 75 year old bachelor virgin." (Actually, Sir Tim and 
Anyone, Hoover, an ear-voyeur, had tapes of ML King, tapes of a "wild party." King was afraid 
Hoover'd "do something foolish 8 play it in public." He did, to newsmen and various lawmakers 
and wire service folk no one was interested in this old queen's tired blackmail Invasion of priva- 
cy anyway.) 

Dr. Leary's jail Note& make a science fiction classic, Orwell come true. As Neal Cassady also'd 
spent 2 years in San Quentin a decade earlier, entrapped by shifty Narcotics Agents for a joint. 

An answer to this tough problem of human aggression? Medicine, 3 lumps hashish daily diet 
75% of Aggressiveness. This fact courtesy U.S. Arms Control Disarmament experiments Princeton 

Dr. Leary was jailed for theory and practice of research on LSD 8 Cannabis. A shame for 
Harvard, on the Academics of America, 8 on the State. "His prophecies," like those of Hippocrates 
he paraphrases, "and his techniques with potions, if become widespread, would totally free each 
individual from State control and make possible complete liberty of consciousness." 

Dr. Leary had taken the burden of giving honest report of LSD 8 Cannabis in terms more accu- 
rate 8 harmless than the faked science of the Government Party Hacks 8 therefore his imprison- 
ment was an act of insult to Science, Liberty, Common Sense, Freedom, Academy, Medicine, 
Psychology as an Art, and Poetry as a tradition of human mind-vision. Well, jail'd honed him down 
to rib 8 soul. 

* Bail was not granted. Dr. Leary left San Luis Obispo jail months later, on his own initiative.-A.G. 
(Thi6 introduction wad written by Allen Ginsberg in November 1968 and August 1970, and is reproduced here in 
lull, with minor alteration* (mainly verb tenses) made by the author in 1995. It appeared originally in Jail 
Notes, Timothy Leary '6 account oft his prison experience. Dr. leary served seven months oft a possible ten-year 
sentence lor possession oft a small quantity oft marijuana. He escaped on the mornins oft September 13, 1970.) 

xxiv High. Priest + Timothy Leary 

Richard Alpert 


From i960 to 1963 over 200 visionary-drug sessions were guided by the 
Harvard Psychedelic Research Project. 

The guides numbered around 40. There were faculty members S graduate stu- 
dents from the Psychology and Divinity departments. There were, also, a dozen or 
so distinguished visiting advisors including Allen Ginsberg, Aldous Huxley, Alan 
Watts, William Burroughs, Marshall McLuhan, Charles Mingus, Arthur Koestler, etc. 

The Harvard Psychedelic Center functioned as a global clearing house for 
information about self-administered brain-change drugs. 

Please do not be put off by the ironic title (Priest?) which was suggested by a 
certain, late-night prankster, Paul Krassner. 

First let's discuss the playing rules which guided these explorations. 

The project personalized, humanized, psychologized the basic playing-princi- 
ples of the new Quantum Psychology: Einsteinian Relativity, Heisenberg 
Determinacy, Planckian Chaotics, McLuhan Linguistics. 

1. Einsteinian Relativity... 

...when applied to human behavior, becomes Interpersonal Interactivity. 
Continual feedback of changing viewpoints. 

The traditional role of impersonal (Newtonian) scientists setting up experi- 
ments and measuring the behavior of animal-or-human subjects was outmoded. 

The new emphasis on Interpersonal Relations and Field Theory was marketed 
(in various American-British Research Centers ) as Social Psychology, Group 
Counseling, Gestalt Analysis, Feedback Techniques, Client-Centered Counseling, 
12-Step Programs. Hands-On , D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) methods. 

Patients and therapists formed teams to study the here-now experiences. The 
Staff acted as coaches, tour guides. The Patients-Subjects were the stars. Our staff 
did not administer drugs to the subjects. Typically, one or more staff members 
(guides) would be selected, by lot, to trip with the subjects. We tried to be 
Interpersonal not Impersonal. 

xx vi High Priest Timothy Leary 

The deal was common-sense-fair-play. 

We provided Brain-Activating drugs. And we provided books S reports from 
other trippers. 

Both guides and tourists planned the Setting and mutually defined the Set, i.e. 
the goals. 

Divinity students wanted to have mystical experiences. Prisoners wanted to 
learn why they messed-up. (Well, in candor, it must be said that most prisoners 
were happy about getting "high in the slammer". They agreed to write reports and 
fill out score-Boards (questionnaires) about their experiences. The Harvard guides 
agreed to do the same. This was our main-street understanding of Einstein's Inter- 
Active, Feed-Back theories. 

The trips in this book included legendary intellectuals: Aldous Huxley, William 
Burroughs, Gordon Wasson, Walter Clark, Arthur Koestler, Charles Mingus, 
Maynard and Flora Lou Ferguson, Frank Barron, Ralph Metzner, Allen Ginsberg, 
Charles Olson. 

Less renowned, but equally enlightening, were a sophisticated Black Junkie, a 
witty British adventurer, a Hip Hindu Lady Guru, a real tough Boston-Mafia mur- 
derer. And three courageous Christian Theologians. 

My children, Susan and Jack, acted as guides and observers. 

2. Heisenberq Determinacy 

Observers create the realities they inhabit. Viewpoints. Perspectives. The set- 
ting for each excursion was planned by the trippers. 

Each voyager returns with different stories to tell. The aim is to take responsi- 
bility for, and notes about the realities you determine. 

3. Planckian Chaotics: 

The basic nature of the universe, we are told, is indescribable chaotics. Ultra- 
Complexities which boggle the word-processing mind. 

Psychedelic drugs apparently activate "right" brain circuits which overwhelm, 
unfocus, dilate, disorder the linear "left" brain-mind. (The words "left" and "right" 
are metaphorical and not anatomically precise.) Practically, this means you have to 
dilate your pupils to become a visionary. 

One of the classic terms for describing this experience is "ineffable". Chaotics 

Reintroduction xxvii 

cannot be verbalized by the grabbing mind. The least inaccurate metaphor is "surf- 
ing" the accelerated neurological oceans of light-waves. 

4. McLuhan Linguistics 

Quantum Physics defines basic elements as quarks; bits of o-i Information 
which form temporary clouds of energy-matter. The best way to describe chaotics 
is to use the media-language of the galaxies (and the brain). 


It is instructive to recall such ancient Hindu-Buddhist words for the "right 
brain" experience as Illumination, Enlightenment, Revelation, Visions. 

Consider the poetic, lyric, eye-balling words for great moments: head-lights, 
high-lights, lime-lights, spot-lights, brightness, brilliance, flame, radiating scintilla- 

Sadly, we realized that books like High priest could produce only squiggly black 
letters on white paper; words just package-labels for the neuro-retinal events 

We pioneer researchers did try to enlighten our reports. In the early '6os we 
studied how great religions have used light to dazzle eyes and imprint vulnerable 
brains of the faithful. Stained glass windows. Candles. Reflecting jewels. Gregorian 
chants. Bells. 

So we developed "light-shows". They were primitive affairs. Light reflected 
through bowls of colored jello. Eight slide-projectors producing layers of multi-col- 
ored swirling images. Three or four sound tracks scrambling ear balls. 

Now, 30 years later, multi-media digital disks allow us to re-produce-communi- 
cate psychedelic experiences. Film and CD ROM versions of this book, High 
Prle&t, are being developed. 

The Inadequacy oFThis Book 

The lettered texts presented in the following pages employ some primitive 
ways of suggesting the confusing, jumbled complexities of the "turned-on" brain. 

Note that each page presents an on-going interplay dialogue between 
the viewpoints of the author and (in the margins) comments from other sources. 

xxv Hi High Priest Timothy 

Each chapter unfolds in the context of I CHING readings. 

To hint at the disorder of the psychedelic experience, we have occa- 
sionally used poetic-scramble and the cut-and-paste methods introduced by 
William Burroughs, James Joyce and Brian Gysen. 

You will note (and, perhaps, be amused by) our Breathless Spirituality, our lav- 
ish use of religious metaphors. 

Today, of course, we are beginning to use neurological and digital terms to 
suggest how we can operate our brains. 

But in 1962 there was no language in American Psychology for these experi- 
ences. Except the wretched psychiatric litany of hallucination-victim-disease. 

Drugs like LSD, Mescaline, Psylocybin were called "psychotomimetic". 
Temporary insanity! 

We intuitively rejected the Disease-Victim model and relied on the classic ter- 
minology of religious-mystical states. There is a lot of heavy-duty celestial 
name-dropping. Gods. Sacraments. Miracles. Christs. Buddhists. William Blake. 
Gilgamesh. St. Johns of the Cross. Divine Rascals. Heavens S Hells. 

Today we use the metaphors of computers, virtual realities, chaos engineering, 
neurotransmitters. Turning on, operating and fine-tuning the brain. 

However, I am proud of the pre-neurological, theological innocence revealed in 
this book. We were joyfully, reverently recapitulating the metaphors of medieval 
Soul Engineering. 

And, looking back, I am proudly aware of the survival principles which 
guided us. 

Sense oF humors. 

Conformance to Laws of Levities. 

Celebrations of Chaotics. 

Illuminations, Brain Surfing as team sports. 
So, whether it's living it or dying it 

Always do it: with friends! 






TRIP 1 Death of the Mind: ABYSMAL PRELUDE. 

January 1959 Guide: GODSDOG 1 

TRIP 2 God Reveals Himself in Mysterious Forms: 
Au$mt 196c Guide: ROBERT GORDON WASSON 11 

TRIP 3 The Revelation Is Awe-Full: YOUTHFUL COURAGE. 

September i960 Guide: JACK LEARY 35 

TRIP A The Sacrament Solves No Problems: THE DARK PARADOX. 

October i960 Guide: ALDOUS HUXLEY 59 

TRIP 5 You Will Be Hurled Beyond the Good and Evil Game: 
November i960 Guide: SUSAN LEARY 83 

TRIP 6 The Blueprint to Turn-On the World: ECSTATIC POLITICS. 

December i960 Guide: ALLEN GINSBERG 109 

TRIP 7 You Have To Go Out of Your Mind To Use Your Head: 
January 1961 Guide: FRANK BARRON 135 

TRIP 8 The Random Spinning of the Mind Must Be Centered by Prayer: 
February 1961 Guide: RICHARD ALPERT 157 

TRIP 9 The Sacrament Can Liberate the Imprisoned: 
March 1961 Guide: WILLY (A Black Junkie) 173 

xxx High Priest Timothy Leary 

TRIP 10 And The Prisoners Will Become Priests: 
Spring 1961 Guides: JIM BERRIGAN, DON SAINTEN 191 

TRIP 11 When the Celestial Messenger Comes Wearing a Fedora, 
Can You Suspend Your Games?: 
Summer 1961 Guide: BILL BURROUGHS 213 

TRIP 12 LSD-The Drop-Out Drug: 


Fall 1961 Guide: MICHAEL HOLLINGSHEAD 233 

TRIP 13 Are Heaven and Hell Real?: 


Winter 1961 Guide: RALPH METZNER 263 

TRIP 14 When Will You Be Ready To Admit You Are a Divine Messenger? 
Spring 1962 Guide: SAKTI f DIVINE NUN 281 

TRIP 15 Your Faith Will Perform Miracles: 

April 1962 Guides: WALTER CLARK, HUSTON SMITH, 8 


TRIP 16 After Your Illumination, Why Come Down?: 
June 1962 Guide: KRISHNA 



Facsimile of the 1968 Edition 

Dut I-why should i go? By whose decree? 
I am not paul r nor am I yet Aeneas, 

but deemed 
unworthy by myself and others. Wherefore, if I 
allow myself to go, I fear it would be folly. 


Death of the Mind: 



r 1 

January 1959 

Guide: godsdog 

Oracle: III 

Difficulty at the Beginning 

The Abysmal, Water 

The Arousing, Thunder 

Clouds and thunder: 

The image of difficulty at the beginning. 

Thus the superior man 

Brings order out of confusion. 



In the beginning God cre- 
ated the heavens and the 

The earth was without form 
and void, and darkness 
was on the face of the deep. 


Nicholas in The Magus by 
John Fowles: 

For a while 
wander into 

let my mind 
j bottomless 

Supposing all my life that 
last year had been the very 
opposite of what Conchis 
so often said so often, to 
trick me once again about 
life in general. 

That is, the very opposite of 


And God said let there be 
light; and there was light. 
And God saw that the light 
was good; and God sepa- 
rated the light from the 


In the beginning was the turn on. The flash, the 
illumination. The electric trip. The sudden bolt of 
energy that starts the new system. 

The turn on was God. 

All things were made from the turn on and 
without Him was not any thing made. 

In this turn on was life; and the life was the 
light of men. 

It has always been the same. 

It was the flash that exploded the galaxies, from 
which all energy flows. It was the spark that ignites 
in the mysterious welding of amino-acid strands 
that creates the humming vine of organic life. It is 
the brilliant neurological glare that illuminates the 
shadows of mans mind. The God-intoxicated reve- 
lation. The Divine union. The vision of harmony, 
samadhi, satori, ecstasy which we now call psy- 

What happens when you turn on? Where do you 
go when you take the trip? You go within. Con- 
sciousness changes. Your nerve endings, neural 
cameras, cellular memory banks, protein structures 
become broadcasting instruments for the timeless 
humming message of God located inside your 

The external world doesn't change, but your 
experience of it becomes drastically altered. 

You close your eyes and the thirteen billion cell 
brain computer flashes multiple kaleidoscopic mes- 
sages. Symbolic thought merges with sensory explo- 
sions; symbolic thoughts fuse with somatic-tissue 
events; ideas combine with memories personal, 
cellular, evolutionary, embryonic thoughts col- 
lapse into molecular patterns. 

You open your eyes and you see your tidy tele- 
vision-studio world of labeled stage-props fusing 
with sensory, somatic, cellular, molecular flashes. 

January 1959 00 3 

Your nervous system is prepared to register and 
coordinate up to one thousand million units of 
flashing information each second. 

A psychedelic trip lasts from five to twelve 
hours. Each trip takes off from a stage-set struc- 
tured by the physical surroundings and the cast of 
characters present. Each person in the session is a 
universe of two billion years of protein, protean 
memories, and sensations. A heady mix. 

How to describe this multiple, jumbled, rapidly 
changing process? What do you do after you turn 

The Light shineth in the darkness and the dark- 
ness comprehendeth it not. 


tune in means to bear witness to the Light, that 
all men might believe. 

The turn on bolt shatters structure. Reveals the 
frozen nature of the artificial stage-set men call 
reality. Certitude collapses. There is nothing but 
the energy which lighteneth every man that cometh 
into the world. E = MC 2 . 

We discover we are not television actors born 
onto the American stage-set of a commercially spon- 
sored program twenty centuries old. We are two- 
billion-year-old carriers of the Light, born not just 
of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will 
of man, but of the Light that flashed in the Pre- 
cambrian mud, the Light made flesh. 

tune in means that you sit in the debris of your 
shattered illusions, and discover that there is noth- 
ing, you are nothing except the bearer of the wire- 
coil of life, that your body is the temple of the Light 
and you begin once again to build a structure to 
preserve and glorify the Light. You bear witness 
crying, the Sun that comes after me is preferred 
before me, and your days are spent preparing the 
earth for the Son to come. That is tuning in. 

And to tune in you must drop out. 

drop out means detach yourself tenderly, aes- 
thetically, harmoniously from the fake-prop studio 
of the empire game and do nothing but guard and 
glorify the Light. 

My first trip came in the middle of the journey 
of this life (when I was thirty-five years old) and 

Nicholas in The Magus: 

I stared at myself. They 
were trying to drive me 
mad, to brainwash me in 
some astounding way. But 
I clung to reality. 


And God saw that it was 


From The Magus: 

I cannot believe Maurice is 
evil. You will understand. 


And God made the beasts 
of the earth according to 
their kinds and the cattle 

according to their kinds, 
and everything that creeps 
upon the ground according 
to its kind. And God saw 
that it was good. 


4 00 Death of the Mind 

From The Magus: 

"I come to tell you that you 
are now elect." I shook my 
head violently from side to 
side. "You have no choice." 


awoke to the consciousness that I was trapped in a 
dark room, in a hastily constructed, thin-walled 
stage-prop home in Berkeley, California, and the 
ribbon of light had been lost. 

I was a rootless city-dweller. An anonymous insti- 
tutional employee who drove to work each morning 
in a long line of commuter cars, and drove home 
each night and drank martinis and looked like and 
thought like and acted like several million middle- 
class liberal intellectual robots. 

Woke up, fell out of dead 

Made the bus in fleconds flat 

There was no connection with soil or with my 
racial past. My clan gods slumbered. My tribal 
banners were hidden, forgotten in cellular reposi- 

Then the Lord God said, "It 
is not good that the man 
should be alone; I will make 
him a helper fit for him." 


From The Magus: 

I turned away again, to try 
to get her to say more. But 
she sat in the chair and I 
felt her eyes on my back. 
I knew she was sitting 
there, in her corn-gold 
chair, and that she was like 
Demeter, Ceres, a goddess 
on her throne; 


How I entered this flimsy stage-set I cannot well 
recall, so full was I of sleep at the time. 

I dropped out, taking leave from my job (as 
Director of Psychological Research for the Kaiser 
Foundation Hospital) and sailing for Spain on the 
S.S. Independence, American Export Lines, with 
my two children, Susan, age nine, and Jack, age 

We settled in a villa in Torremolinos on the 
Costa del Sol. There the kids trooped off across 
the field to school each morning while I stayed 
home to die messily. 

The coast of Spain Malaga to Gibraltar is the 
southernmost part of Europe, and down to this 
bottom sift and fall the psychological dregs of the 
Continent drunken Swedes, cashiered Danes, 
twisted Germans, sodden British. 

The main occupation of the Torremolinos colony 
was drug taking and the drug was alcohol. 

Found my way upstairs and had a poke 

I had brought with me a trunk full of psycho- 
logical data thousands of test scores and numer- 
ical indices which demonstrated with precision why 
psychotherapy did not work. In America, I had a 
staff of statisticians and clerks and rooms of calcu- 
lators and computers to handle the data. But I had 
said good-bye to all that and sat sweating in a 
small room in a Spanish house adding and sub- 
tracting long columns of figures. Hour after hour. 

6 00 Death of the Mind 

Then the man said, "This at 
last is bone of my bones 
and flesh of my flesh; she 
shall be called woman, be- 
cause she was taken out of 


But I just had a book 

Having read the look 

It was a brutal yoga. Each laborious calculation 
was proving that psychology was just a mind-game, 
an eccentric head trip on the part of psychologists, 
and that psychotherapy was an arduous, expensive, 
ineffective, unimaginative attempt to impose the 
mind of the doctor on the mind of the patient. 

Each arithmetical index was pushing me farther 
and farther from my chosen profession. 

And though the moles were rather small 

I had to count them all 

The dying process was slow. 

I would throw down the ballpoint pen and walk 
fast to the main street of the village and sit in a 
bar and drink and talk detached-zombie-fashion 
with the expatriates and leave abruptly and run 
back to the house and continue the paralyzing cal- 
culations, sweating in panic. 

Now he knows how many moles it takes to fill 
the Alpert Hall 

Boredom, black depression, flashes of frantic, 
restless anxiety. No place to go. 

/ led the news today oh joy 

And though the views was rather mad 

In December the rains came and the Mediter- 
ranean was gray and cold. On Christmas Eve I met 
a young, runaway prostitute from Valencia and took 
her home. By New Years I had the clap. 

From The Magus: 

"You may search the 
house." She watched me, 
chin on hand, in the yellow 
chair; unnettled; in posses- 
sion. Of what, I didn't know; 
but in possession. I felt like 
a green young dog in pur- 
suit of a cunning old hare; 
every time I leapt, I bit 
brown air. 


Times of growth are beset with difficulties. They 
resemble a first birth. But these difficulties arise 
from the very profusion of all that is struggling to 
attain form. Everything is in motion: therefore if 
one perseveres there is a prospect of great success, 
in spite of the existing danger. When it is a mans 
fate to undertake such new beginnings, everything 
is still unformed, dark. ( I Ching III ) 

In the middle of January I moved with the kids 
to a steam-heated hotel, but Jack's un-house-trained 
puppy and my distant gloom freaked the owner, so 
I moved to an apartment tunneled into the rock at 
the foot of Calle San Miguel. It was a cave with 
oozing stone walls. The beds were always damp. 

January 1959 00 7 

Well I just had to graph 

There the break-through-break-down started. 

It began in the head. One morning my scalp be- 
gan to itch. By noon it was unbearable. Each hair 
root was a burning rod of sensation. My hair was a 
cap of fire. I ran down the beach and cut my feet 
on rocks to keep from ripping my fingers through 
my scalp. 

By evening my face began to swell and huge 
water blisters erupted from my cheeks. A young 
Danish doctor came, injected me with a huge 
needle, and gave me sleeping pills. 

Somebody broke and 1 went into a steam 

In the morning I was blind eyes shut tight by 
swollen tissue and caked with dried pus. I felt my 
way to the bathroom, lit a candle, and pried open 
one eye before the mirror. 

Broke up, sell out of bed 

In the oblong glass I saw the twisted, tormented 
face of an insane stranger. 

I saw the rotograph 

A Spanish doctor came and gave me more shots 
and more sleeping pills. He had never seen such a 
case before. Jack and Susan crept into the room to 
look at me with big sorrowful eyes. The bed was 
cold and soggy but I slept. 

The third day the disease had spread to my 
body. Huge watery welts blossomed on my back, 
stomach, and flanks. Both the Danish and the 
Spanish doctors shook their heads, and both in- 
jected me from large metal hypodermics. 

In the afternoon I hired a taxi and was driven 
to Malaga to consult the specialist. His eyes bulged 
and he shook his head and gave me two injec- 

I'd ove turned you on 

Before returning to Torremolinos I sat at a side- 
walk cafe and drank a Coca-Cola. A pretty, young 
Swedish girl joined me. She was traveling with her 
parents and was bored and rebellious, hungry for 
adventure. She steamed with erotic vapor. I looked 
at her and smiled weakly. See you later. 

Back at Torremolinos the doctors agreed I should 
move to a steam-heated hotel. We had to smuggle 
the dog in. Jack and Susan left to stay with a 

But the serpent said to the 
woman, "You will not die. 
For God knows that when 
you eat of it your eyes will 
be opened, and you will be 
like God, knowing good and 


From The Magus: 

"Responsibility!" I wheeled 
round on her again. "Do 
you really think we do this 
just for you? Do you really 
believe we are not . . . 
charting the voyage?" 


But the Lord God called to 
the man, and said to him, 
"Where are you?" And he 
said, "I heard the sound of 
thee in the garden, and I 
was afraid, because I was 
naked; and I hid myself." 


8 00 Death off the Mind 

From The Magus: 

"With all the necessity of a 
very complex experiment." 
"I like my experiments 
simple." "The days of simple 
experiments are over." 


sabbatical family from the University of Pennsyl- 


The Lord God said to the 
serpent, "... I will put 
enmity between you and 
the woman, and between 
your seed and her seed. 


Therefore the Lord God 
sent him forth from the gar- 
den of Eden, to till the 
ground from which he was 
taken. He drove out the 
man; and at the east of the 
garden of Eden he placed 
the cherubim, and a flaming 
sword which turned every 
way, to guard the way to 
the tree of life. 


By night the disease had spread to my extrem- 
ities. My wrists and hands were swollen to arthritic 
paralysis. My ankles and feet ballooned. I couldn't 
walk or move my fingers. I sat in the darkness for 
several hours and then came the scent of decay. 
Overpowering odor of disintegration. 

I got up from the chair, but my feet buckled and I 
fell to my knees. I crawled across the room to the 
electric switch and pulled myself up to flick on the 

He didn't notice that the frights had changed 

Jack's puppy had been very sick and a rivulet of 
yellow shit ran along the floor. We would be ex- 
pelled from the hotel if the chambermaid found the 
evidence. I crawled to the bathroom and pulled 
down a roll of toilet paper. For the next hour I crept 
along the tile floor cleaning up the mess. It was 
slimy mucus. The color of peanut butter. 

I crawled to the bathroom. The toilet didn't work. 
I crawled to the window which overlooked the back 
yard of the hotel and heaved out the wad of toilet 

There were electric wires about four feet below 
the window and the discolored strings of paper 
caught on the wires and hung down like banners 
swaying in the breeze. Flag of my action. 

Using an umbrella as a cane, I hobbled along the 
hallway, down the back stairs, and across the rutted 
muddy back yard. Each step was torture. I fell 
several times. I stood on a packing crate and flailed 
at the paper banner like a madman fighting vul- 

Clouds and thunder are represented by definite 
decorative lines; this means that in the chaos of 
difficulty at the beginning, order is already implicit. 
So too the superior man has to arrange and organize 
the inchoate profusion of such times of beginning, 
just as one sorts out silk threads from a knotted 
tangle and binds them into skeins. In order to find 
one's place in the infinity of being, one must be able 
both to separate and to unite. ( I Ching III ) 

January 1959 00 9 

By the time I wrenched back to the room, two 
hours had elapsed. I was weak and trembling. I 
slumped in the chair for the rest of the dark night, 
wrapped in a Burberry mackintosh. 

I died. I let go. Surrendered. 

I slowly let every tie to my old life slip away. My 
career, my ambitions, my home. My identity. The 
guilts. The wants. 

With a sudden snap, all the ropes of my social self 
were gone. I was a thirty-eight-year-old male animal 
with two cubs. High, completely free. 

I could feel some seed of life stirring inside and 
energy uncoil. When the dawn came I moved my 
hands. The swelling was gone. I found a pen and 
paper. I wrote three letters. One to my employers, 
telling them I was not returning to my job. A second 
to my insurance agent to cash in my policies. And 
a third long manuscript to a colleague, spelling out 
certain revelations about the new psychology, the 
limiting artifactual nature of the mind, the unfold- 
ing possibilities of mind-free consciousness, the lib- 
erating effect of the ancient rebirth process that 
comes only through death of the mind. 

The ordeal in Spain was the first of some four hun- 
dred death-rebirth trips I have experienced since 
1958. The first step was non-chemical. Or was it? 

Conchis in The Magus: 

He leant forward, after a 
long silence, and turned up 
the lamp; then stared at me. 

"The disadvantage of our 
new drama is that in your 
role you do not know what 
you can believe and what 
you cannot." 



Works supreme success, 
Furthering through perseverance. 
Nothing should be undertaken. 
It furthers one to appoint helpers. 




God Reveals Himself 

in Mysterious Forms : 


August 1960 













a- ; 

The Arousing, Thunder 
The Receptive, Earth 



U J 






Thunder comes resounding out of the earth: 

The image of enthusiasm. 

Thus the ancient kings made music 

In order to honor merit, 

And offered it with splendor 



From Hallucinogenic Fungi 
of Mexico by Robert Gor- 
don Wasson: 

I do not recall which of us, 
my wife or I, first dared to 
put into words back in the 
forties the surmise that our 
own remote ancestors, per- 
haps 4,000 years ago, wor- 
shipped a divine mush- 

In the fall of 1952 we 
learned that the 16th cen- 
tury writers, describing the 
Indian cultures of Mexico, 
had recorded that certain 
mushrooms played a divine 
role in the religion of the 

The so-called mushroom 
stones really represented 
mushrooms, and that they 
were the symbol of a reli- 
gion, like the cross in the 
Christian religion or the star 
of Judea or the crescent of 
the Moslems. 

I was first drugged out of my mind in Cuernavaca, 
August i960. I ate seven of the Sacred Mushrooms 
of Mexico and discovered that beauty, revelation, 
sensuality, the cellular history of the past, God, the 
Devil all lie inside my body, outside my mind. 

In the days of Montezuma this town called horn- 
of-the-cow was the center of soothsayers, wise-men, 
and magicians. Cuernavaca is the southern anchor 
point of a line running from the fabled volcanic 
peaks Popo and Iztaccihuatl over to the volcano of 
Toluca. On the high slopes of the volcanoes, east 
and west of the capital, grow the Sacred Mushrooms 
of Mexico, divinatory fungi, Teonanacatl, flesh of 
the Gods. 

In the summer of i960 Cuernavaca was the site 
of considerable activity by American psychologists 
soothsayers, medicine men, would-be magicians 
from the North vacationing on research grants and 
working in the lush valley of Morelos in sight of the 
snowy peaks of the legendary volcanoes. 

Erich Fromm was running an experimental proj- 
ect down the highway, studying the social and emo- 
tional currents of Indian village life. 

Over in Tepoztlan, ten miles to the east, Professor 
David McClelland, on vacation from Harvard, was 
working on plans to help underdeveloped countries 
raise their economic standards through psychologi- 
cal techniques and the Protestant ethic. His statis- 
tics showed that Catholic, Moslem, Buddhist coun- 
tries were poor. 

Elliot Danzig, Mexico's leading industrial psy- 
chologist, was a few cornfields away in his villa 
which sits next to the cliff under the altar of the God 
Tepozteco. It was at this altar, often shrouded in 
rain clouds, that the Aztecs had worshipped the 
God, Tepozteco, to drumrolls of the arousing 

August 1960 00 13 

thunder and bolts of lightning, the clinging flame. 
It was he who showered down blessings including 
the gift of pulque ... a milky beer fermented 
from cactus, which contains its own abundance of 
thunder over the earth. 

In Cuernavaca another villa served as summer 
headquarters for four American psychologists- 
Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert of Harvard, 
Frank Barron of California, and Richard Dettering 
of San Francisco. 

Thus we find a mushroom 
in the center of the cult 
with perhaps the longest 
continuous history in the 

The happenings of that summer in quiet Cuerna- 
vaca were to set up reverberations which have 
echoed now for years. Many of the scientists who 
were working and vacationing there that season 
have had their lives dramatically changed, and none 
of them will ever completely escape from the myste- 
rious power, the challenge, the paradox of what 
started to unfold. 

I was working on a book about the philosophy of 
the behavioral sciences. I was dissatisfied with the 
theory and methods of psychology and trying to 
develop an existential-transactional approach to the 
study of human events. 

Existential means you study natural events as 
they unfold without prejudging them with your own 
concepts. You surrender your mind to the events. 

Transactional means you see the research situa- 
tion as a social network, of which the experimenter 
is one part. The psychologist doesn't stand outside 
the event, but recognizes his part in it, and works 
collaboratively with the subject towards mutually 
selected goals. 

This philosophic position, when applied, gener- 
ates a lot of emotion. For one thing, it bypasses the 
traditional experimenter-subject and doctor-patient 
relationships. It tells the doctor and the scientist to 
relax his control. It urges that everyman be his own 
scientist. Do his own research. It bypasses the con- 
trolled experiment in favor of the natural sequence 
of behavior. You don't have to design an experi- 
ment, Dr. Jones, you are already part of one. 

The 1967 phenomenon of several million Ameri- 
cans taking LSD on their own, exploring their own 
consciousness, doing it themselves, developing their 

We have found this cult of 
the divine mushroom a rev- 
elation, in the true meaning 
of that abused word, though 
for the Indians it is an 
everyday feature, albeit a 
holy mystery, of their lives. 

There are no apt words . . . 
to characterize your state 
when you are, shall we say, 
"Bemush roomed." 

What we need is a vocabu- 
lary to describe all the 
modalities of a divine in- 

14 00 God Reveals Himself 

These difficulties in com- 
municating have played 
their part in certain amus- 
ing situations. Two psychia- 
trists who have taken the 
mushroom and known the 
experience in its full dimen- 
sions have been criticized 
in professional circles as 
being no longer "objec- 

Thus we are all divided 
into two classes: those who 
have taken the mushroom 
and are disqualified by our 
subjective experience and 
those who have not taken 
the mushroom and are dis- 
qualified by their total ig- 
norance of the subject. 

I am profoundly grateful to 
my Indian friends for having 
initiated me into the tre- 
mendous mystery of the 

Of alcohol they speak with 
the same jocular vulgarity 
that we do. But about mush- 
rooms they prefer not to 
speak at all, at least when 
they are in company and 
especially when strangers, 
white strangers, are pres- 

own methods of turning-on, is nothing less than an 
existential-transactional revolution in psychology. 
The professionals the doctors and the experimen- 
talists and the government officials don't like it. 
The idea of people going out and solving their own 
problems, changing their own consciousness, irri- 
tates the doctors. They say it's indiscriminate, un- 
supervised, uncontrolled, and basically for kicks. 
They are right. It is and it should be. That's what 
life itself is. An indiscriminate, unsupervised, un- 
controlled two-billion-year-old energy dance with 
ecstatic communion as the goal. 

These laws are not forces external to things but 
represent the harmony of movement immanent in 
them. That is why the celestial bodies do not 
deviate from their orbits and why all events in 
nature occur with fixed regularity. ( I Ching XVI ) 

The villa in Cuernavaca, which became the back- 
drop for my mushroom revelations, needs to be 
described. The setting, the surrounding, is a key 
factor in the outcome of any visionary voyage 
whether you use mushrooms or marijuana or LSD or 
rosary beads, and in this regard the Cuernavaca 
mushroom eaters were fortunate. 

The Spanish-style villa was out on the Acapulco 
road near the golf course. It was a rambling white 
stucco house with scarlet trim, surrounded by gray 
stone walls. The walls were pierced by two red-iron 
scroll gates and there was a long veranda and 
a wide staircase leading down to a carriage drive. 
Down below was a sloping lawn ringed by flowers. 
Two rows of red urns flanked the stairs. 

The villa had been built by Mexican Moslems and 
remodeled by Mexican Viennese. It was colorful, 
open, and lush. 

Next to the upper terrace was the swimming pool, 
lake blue, and the lawn fell away downslope to a 
lower green terraced lawn. The close-cropped turf 
was thick rough Cuernavaca grass, good to look at 
but matting into heavy piled green carpet, scraping 
your bare feet and leaving tattooed welts on your 
back after you lay on it. 

August 1960 00 15 

The lower lawn was shaded by lacy Ahuehuate 
trees, and on the walls of the villa, vines, green, 
splashed with red, yellow, orange, and the clear 
blue of the mile-high Morelos sky and the lush 
green of the golf course fairway down below the 

Summer days . . . swimming trunks before 
breakfast . . . ontological discussions . . . the cold 
grapefruit eaten by hot poolside . . . the egocen- 
tric fallacy of the doctor-patient relationship . . . 
touch football on the lawn . . . the imposition of 
psychological categories on the flow of life . . . 
clear hot sun burning tanned skin . . . the need to 
collaborate with subjects . . . the startle value of 
iced drinks . . . the anti-exisfcential impact of the 
Mexico City News with its Aristotelian structure 
of essences and abstractions . . . the shouts of 
Jack Leary and the Mexican boy, Pepe, chasing 
ducks on the lower lawn . . . visitors from Mexico 
City defined wider bounds for inquiry . . . the 
sudden cooling splash of the evening rain . . . 
Dewey and Bentley . . . Kennedy and Nixon . . . 
thunder and earth . . . the sky over the volca- 
noes . . . candles at dinner. 

Be like the sun at midday. 

A frequent visitor was Gerhart Braun, anthropol- 
ogist-historian-linguist from the University of Mex- 
ico. With him would come Joan, his girl friend, 
and Betty, an English major from the University of 
California, who wrote poetry and cracked jokes and 
played touch football with the kids. 

Gerhart had been studying the Aztec culture and 
translating old texts written in Nahuatl, the lan- 
guage used by the Aztecs before the conquest. He 
had discovered repeated references to the use of 
Sacred Mushrooms by Aztec soothsayers on cere- 
monial occasions to predict the future, to feel better, 
to solve mental problems. 

On the eve of the Emperor's coronation Mexico 
City got high on mushrooms. But the Spanish his- 
torians, most of them priests, rarely mentioned the 
magic mushrooms. And when they did it was in 
prudish, frightened terms. Evil! Danger! Fear! 

Then, when evening and 
darkness come and you are 
alone with a wise old man 
or woman whose confi- 
dence you have won, by 
the light of a candle held 
in the hand and talking in 
a whisper, you may bring 
up the subject. 

They are never exposed in 
the marketplace but pass 
from hand to hand by pre- 

The Aztecs before the 
Spanish arrived called 
them Teonanacatl, God's 
flesh. I need hardly remind 
you of a disquieting para' 
lei, the designation of the 
elements in our Eucharist: 

"Take, eat, this is my 
body . . .", and again, 
"Grant us therefore, gra- 
cious Lord, so to eat the 
flesh of Thy dear son. . . ." 

16 00 God Reveals Himself 

The orthodox Christian 
must accept by faith the 
miracle of the conversion 
of the bread into God's 
flesh: That is what is meant 
by the Doctrine of Transub- 

By contrast, the mushroom 
of the Aztecs carries its 
own conviction; every com- 
municant will testify to the 
miracle that he has experi- 

In the language of the 
Mazatecs the sacred mush- 
rooms are called 'nti si tho. 
The first word, 'nti, is a par- 
ticle expressing reverence 
and endearment. The sec- 
ond element means "that 
which springs forth." 

Gerhart's curiosity was aroused and he had asked 
around about the mushrooms and discovered that 
they grew on the volcanic slopes near Mexico City. 

So one day we drove up to the village of San 
Pedro near the volcano of Toluca and walked 
around the marketplace asking about the Sacred 
Mushrooms. Bruce Conner came with us shooting 
movies, dancing around filming the sides of meat 
hanging in the butcher shops and the swarms of 
black flies and the piles of fruit, the sidewalk dis- 
plays of cloth woven in red and yellow seed and 
cell designs. 

There was much thoughtful shaking of heads by 
the shopkeepers when the mushrooms were men- 
tionedand conversation in low Spanish in the 
back rooms. Old Juana was the one to see. Where 
did one find Juana? She would come to the market. 
Wait right here under the arch. She'll come soon. 

We stood there for an hour while the sandaled 
market-day crowds padded by. An old woman, 
backbent, gray stringy hair, black shawl, eyes down, 
creaking stiffly, Senora Juana. She brushed by us, 
not responding to our hail, not stopping or looking 
up at us. 

She passed through the market street and turned 
at the corner and walked away from the village. We 
followed along the rutted dirt road, and on the 
outskirts of town Gerhart walked faster and caught 
up with Juana. She stopped and they began to talk. 

We stood back and waited and watched. Juana 
seemed to be listening, then she looked up at 
Gerhart, nodded her head, pointed up to the moun- 
tain, turned, pointed back to the town, and then 
started off down the road. 

Gerhart returned to us smiling. Okay. It's all set. 
She'll get the mushrooms next Wednesday and I'll 
meet her in the marketplace next Thursday. 

The following Thursday Gerhart phoned from 
Mexico City. Excited. He had met Juana in the 
market. They had gone away from the tumult of 
the market to the shade of a church wall. He asked 
her if she was sure they were safe. She popped two 
of them in her mouth before his eyes. He washed 
them in cold water, and they are resting now on the 
center shelf of his refrigerator. See you Saturday. 

August 1960 00 17 

Saturday, the day of visions, dawned sunny and 
clear. Around noon Gerhart and his group arrived 
from Mexico City. Joan and Betty the poet. 

I met them on the lawn and the group stood in 
a welcoming circle. My son Jack's iguana, a four- 
foot dinosaur, crawled up and lay on his belly, 
blinking his black ancient ebony eyes, and everyone 
stooped to inspect the long blunt snout, the pat- 
terned design of his canvas skin, our old friend who 
crawled up from the crevice of our planet's history 
and breathed slowly and flicked his lids and 
watched us live and die. They said he was a hun- 
dred years old. 

The maid was surprised when we walked into 
the kitchen to wash the hongos and she was even 
more surprised to learn that we weren't planning to 
cook them. Crudos? Her dark eyes narrowed. Then 
the resigned shrug. Americans are eccentric. 

Gerhart had talked with the University botanists 
and had researched the field thoroughly. So while 
he supervised the cleaning he started to lecture on 
the mushrooms. Known and used by the Aztecs. 
Banned by the Catholic church. Said by leading 
botanists not even to exist! The trance-giving mush- 
rooms. Pushed out of history's notice until the last 
decade when they had been discovered by Weit- 
linger and Schultes and the American mycologists, 
Valentina and Gordon Wasson. Pause to clear 
throat. By now they had been eaten by a few 
scientists, a few poets, a few intellectuals looking 
for mystical experiences. They produced wondrous 
trances. Oh yeah? What does he mean by that? 

There were two kinds, females and males. The 
lady mushrooms were the familiar umbrella shape, 
but black, ominous, bitter-looking. The male's anat- 
omy was so phallic there was no need to ask why 
they were called males. Wondrous trances. The 
words meant nothing. We moved out to the pool. 

The mushrooms were in two large bowls, male 
and female separate, on the table under the huge 
beach umbrella. Gerhart was still lecturing, now 
about the dosage. Six females and six males. The 
effect should begin after an hour. Then he stuffed a 
big, black, moldy-damp mushroom in his mouth 
and made a face and chewed and I watched his 

"The little mushroom comes 
of itself, no one knows 
whence, like the wind that 
comes we know not whence 
nor why." 

For more than four cen- 
turies the Indians have kept 
the divine mushroom close 
to their hearts, sheltered 
from desecration by white 
men, a precious secret. 

We know that today there 
are many curanderos who 
carry on the cult, each ac- 
cording to his lights, some 
of them consummate artists, 
performing the ancient 
liturgy in remote huts be- 
fore minuscule congrega- 

They are hard to reach, 
these curanderos. 

Do not think that it is a 
question of money. 

18 00 God Reveals Himself 

Perhaps you will learn the 
names of a number of re- 
nowned curanderos, and 
your emissaries will even 
promise to deliver them to 
you, but then you wait and 
wait and they never come. 

You will brush past them in 
the marketplace, they will 
know you, but you will not 
know them. 

The judge in the town hall 
may be the very man you 
are seeking: And you may 
pass the *ime of day with 
him, yet jver learn that he 
is your curandero. 

After all, would you have it 
any different? What priest 
of the Catholic Church will 
perform mass to satisfy an 
unbeliever's curiosity? 

Adam's apple bounce as it went down. Gerhart 
was voyager number one. 

I picked one up. It stank of forest damp and 
crumbling logs and New England basement. Are 
you sure they are not poisonous? 

Gerhart shrugged. That's what I asked the old 
witch and she swore that they were okay and she 
popped a few in her mouth to demonstrate. 

I looked around. Joan, following Gerhart's exam- 
ple, was munching somewhat unhappily. She was 
explorer number two. 

Mandy, my girl friend, was miserably chewing. 
She was number three. 

Dick Dettering was looking down so that the 
loose pouches under his eyes sagged. Well, Dicko? 
He gave a fierce scared look and began to nibble at 
his palm with squirrelly movement. He was number 

I went next. They tasted worse than they looked. 
Bitter, stringy. Filthy. I took a slug of Carta Blanca 
and jammed the rest in my mouth and washed them 
down. Number five. 

Poet Betty standing by the edge of the terrace 
was suddenly vomiting black strings in the bushes. 
Then she ate more. She was number six. 

Gerhart was telling us that the males had no 
effect and served only a ceremonial function. Every- 
one was listening to his own stomach expecting to 
be poisoned. Quite a picture, six of us sitting around 
on the sunlit terrace in our bathing suits waiting, 
waiting: asking each other, how many did you take? 
Males or females? Do you feel anything? 

Two people fasted. Ruth Dettering was eager to 
eat but she was pregnant and Dick scolded her with 
froggy harumphs until she agreed to wait. She had 
been a nurse and I was glad t 1 at she was going to 
be out of trance. I talked to her about how to call 
for an ambulance and stomach pumps. 

And Whiskers fasted. 

Whiskers was a friend of a friend and had arrived 
the night before. He was slight in build, sweet in 
demeanor a sensitive logician just flunked out of 
Michigan, clipping his words, hesitant, pedantic, 
anxious about sending a cable to his mother. To his 

August 1960 00 19 

He claimed he suffered from nervous fits and so 
he passed up the visions. He was sitting next to 
Gerhart and was dressed in bathing trunks over 
flowered undershorts, and green garters and black 
socks and leather shoes and a silken robe. He had 
been appointed scientist and was taking elaborate 
notes of Gerhart's reactions. 

Religion in primitive society 
was an awesome reality, 
"terrible" in the original 
meaning of the word, per- 
vading all life and culmi- 
nating in ceremonies that 
were forbidden to the pro- 


I begin 

to feel 

Going under dental gas. Good-bye. 
Mildly nauseous. Detached. Moving away 


From the group in bathing suits. 
On a terrace 

under the bright 

Mexican sky. 
When I tell this the others scoff 
Hah, hah. Him. Power of suggestion. 
Skepticism? Of my mind? Of me? Of mind? Of my? 
Oh, now no. No matter. 
Dettering says he feels it too. 

Let me point out certain 
parallels between our Mexi- 
can rite and the mystery 
performed at Eleusis. 

O muses, O great genius, aid me now! O memory 
that wrote down what I saw, here shall your noble 
character be shown. ( Inferno II ) 

Oh my friend. Do you feel tingling in face? 


Dental gas? 


Slight dizziness? 

Yes. Exactly. 

Whiskers making notes. Rapid whiz pencil. 

Lips obscene gash brown stained beard. 

Flowered underpants peeping out 

from bathing trunks, green socks, black shoes, 

thin shoulders 

Bending over note pad. 

Viennese analyst. 

Comic. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh. Can't stop. 

At the heart of the mystery 
of Eleusis lay a secret. In 
the surviving texts there 
are numerous references to 
the secret, but in none is it 

From the writings of the 
Greeks, from a fresco in 
Pompeii, we know that the 
initiate drank a potion. 

20 00 God Reveals Himself 

Then, in the depths of the 
night, he beheld a great 
vision, and the next day he 
was still so awestruck that 
he felt he would never be 
the same man as before. 

Laugh. Laugh. 

All look at me. 


More laugh laugh laugh laugh 

Whiskers looks up, red tongue flicks from 


Lick lips. 

Stomach laugh. So funny that I. . . . 

Laughing pointing. . . . 

The rabbi! Psychoanalytic rabbinical rabbit! 

Convulsed in laughahafter. 

What the initiate experi- 
enced was "new, astonish- 
ing, inaccessible to rational 

It also seems significant 
that the Greeks were wont 
to refer to mushrooms as 
"the food of the gods," 
oroma theon, and that Por- 
phyrius is quoted as having 
called them "nurslings of 
the gods," Theotrophos. 

When, at the beginning of summer, thunder- 
electrical energy comes rushing forth from the 
earth again, and the first thunderstorm refreshes 
nature, a prolonged state of tension is resolved. Joy 
and relief make themselves felt ( I Ching XVI ) 

pomposity of scholars 

impudence of the mind 

smug naivete of words 
If Whiskers could only see! 
Stagger in hahahouse. Roaring. Into bedroom. 
Fahahalling on bed 
Doubled in laughahafter. 

Detterings follow, watch curiously, maybe scared. 

Dettering begins to lafhahahaf . 
Yes, he laughs too. 

You see, Dickohoho? The impudent mind? 
Comedy? Yes. 
Only Ruth standing there grinning quizzically. 

The king is told not to be anxious, but to study how 
he may always be like the sun in his meridian 
height, cheering and enlightening all. 

Starting back to terrace 

My walk has changed 

Rubber legs 

Room is full of water 

Under water 


Floating in air-sea 

August 1960 00 21 


They were not for mortal 
man to eat, at least not 
every day. We might be 
dealing with what was in 
origin a religious tabu. . . . 




Out on terrace 

Trance has hit the others. 


Sprawling on chair, staring up at umbrella 
Eyes popping, big as melons 


I do not suggest that St. 
John of Patmos ate mush- 
rooms in order to write the 
book of Revelation. 

No, see Whisker pencil flying 

Hear Gerhart voice 

an orange spot, I should say twenty 
centimeters in diameter, now changing 
to purple, now being approached at an 
angle of forty-five degrees by an 
alternating band of yellow and red. . . . 

Scientists at work 

Funny, funny too. 

Long, lanky Gerhart in straw sombrero 

Gleaming, staring eyes fixed in space 

Tufted goatee bobbing up and down as he tapes 

out visions. 

Yet the succession of im- 
ages in his vision, so clearly 
seen but such a phantasma- 
goria, means for me that he 
was in the same state as 
one bemushroomed. 

Dettering swims up. 

Point to Gerhart 


Swim to poet-Betty 

On the beach by flowers. 

Face turns up 

Gone, gone, gone. 

I took nine. 

Nine, she sighs. 

Betty makes hissing noise. 

Eyes tender. All woman inviting. 

Ruth Dettering standing by the door. 

The advantage of the mush- 
room is that it puts many 
(if not everyone) within 
reach of this state without 
having to suffer the morti- 
fications of Blake and St. 

22 00 God Reveals Himself 

It permits you to see, more 
clearly than our perishing 
mortal eye can see, vistas 
beyond the horizons of this 
life, to travel backwards 
and forwards in time. To 
enter other planes of exis- 
tence, even (as the Indians 
say) to know God. 

All that you see during this 
night has a pristine quality: 
the landscape, the edifices, 
the carvings, the animals 
they look as though they 
had come straight from the 
Maker's workshop. 

This newness of everything 
it is as if the world had 
just dawned overwhelms 
you and melts you with its 

Swim to her through water, suddenly 


Have you ever swum 

On moonless night 

In southern sea 

Where sharks may be? 

And felt that dread 

Of unknown 

Black peril? 

Swimming in ocean of energy 

With no mind to guide. 

Look, Ruth. I can tell you that this 

thing is going to hit me real hard. 

Harder than anything that has ever 

happened to me. And to the others too. 

Ruth listens hard, nodding her good 

nurse head. You may have six psychotic nuts 

on your hands. I think you should send 

the kids downtown to the movies, and 

the maid too, get her out of here, and lock 

the gates and for god's sake stay close 

and keep your eyes on things. 

How do you feel having all this 

Going on around you? 

Ruth grins. 

So envious I could 


Sitting on chair 

Feeling cold doom 

Sky dark, air still 

Soundless like 



World stops spinning 


The big celestial motor 

Which keeps universe moving 

Is turned off and the whole business 

Terrace, house, lawn, city, world 




through space 



August 1960 00 23 

Mandy floats from beach chair 

Swims by, I watch her go 

Inside door loosens hair 

Falls down over shoulders 

Looks out in bikini wet tresses trailing 

Mermaid eyes see far away. 

All these things you see 
with an immediacy of vision 
that leads you to say to 
yourself, "Now I am seeing 
for the first time, seeing di- 
rect, without the interven- 
tion of mortal eyes." 

Old Dettering floats over 

sea-toad face 


purple green warts 


We stand looking down over 

allgreen grass blade leaf petal in 

focus sharp clear shining 

changing waves color 


floodlight slides 

at summer dance hall 


Behold! You are come to Cerin Amroth, said Haldir. 
For this is the heart of the ancient realm as it was 
long ago, and here is the mound of Amroth, where 
in happier days his high house was built. Here ever 
bloom the winter flowers in the unfading grass. 
( The Lord of the Rings ) 

mandy and i He side by side on beach chair 

her knee hits mine they merge 

no difference between skins 

last abstraction of self and self's body gone 

hairs on leg (my leg?) tripled move in sharp 


like little fleas in Tivoli sideshow in Copenhagen 

no word spoken 

five us sit on terrace 

still staring space 

catatonic silent withdrawn 

sitting in heavenly asylum 

Ruth I talk 

She psychiatric nurse 

I good patient. 

She talks earnestly about . . . reality. 

You must try LSD 
and mescaline and 

It is clear to me where 
Plato found his ideas. It was 
clear to his contemporaries 
too. Plato had drunk of the 
potion in the Temple of 
Eleusis and had spent the 
night seeing the great vi- 

And all the time you are 
seeing these things, the 
priestess sings, not loud 
but with authority. 

24 00 God Reveals Himself 

Your body lies in the dark- 
ness, heavy as lead, but 
your spirit seems to soar 
and leave the hut, 

see if they are 
different from 

Listen tolerantly. 

Pity her. 

Poor creature. 

Think such affairs important. 

Mind games. Head trips. 

and with the speed of 
thought to travel where it 
wishes in time and space, 
accompanied by the sha- 
man's singing and by the 
ejaculations of her per- 
cussive chant. 

Whiskers walks in kitchen completely dressed, he 
is going to town to send another wire to mother. He 
is so serious about the comic game in which he is 
trapped. Whiskers seems so can't bear funny. 

On patio 

Scientist Gerhart giggly, sitting peacefully, 

Lost contemplation. 

Joan by side 


She is fighting spell 



Refusing to relax. 

What you are seeing and 
what you are hearing ap- 
pears as one: 

Of great importance, furthermore, is the law of 
movement along the line of least resistance, which 
in this hexagram is enunciated as the law for natural 
events and for human life. 

Holds bowl of mushrooms in hand 

Hostess pushing cookies at church tea. 

Have another, one more makes all the difference. 

I eat a second. 

Have another, one more makes all the difference. 

I eat third. 

The music assumes har- 
monious shapes, giving 
visual form to its har- 
monies, and what you are 
seeing takes on the modali- 
ties of music the music 
of the spheres. 

Swim along veranda to bedroom 

Shades drawn. Dark. 

Betty feels isolated. All woman un-tilled earth. I am 

sorry tender. 

Her black hair 

drawn back big pony tail. 

Cherokee princess great beauty. 

Humming bird words swoop from mouth. 

How do you feel? 

August 1960 00 25 

I sit trying answer. Can't talk. 

Can only look jeweled patterns, 

swirling tapestry work in closed eyes. 

What is she asking me? Oh yes, how do I feel. 

Far far gone. 

She sits silently behind bead-work face. Do you 

have anything on your mind? Do you want to talk? 

She wants close. Intimacy. But, 

I drift off to cavern of sea light. 

All your senses are simi- 
larly affected: 

The cigarette with which 
you occasionally break the 
tension of the night smells 
as no cigarette before had 
ever smelled: The glass of 
water is infinitely better 
than champagne. 

Gerhart and Joan come in. 
Fall on another bed. 

In Mandy's arms 

Her body warm foam rubber 

Marshmallow flesh 

My body gone 

Fallen into her 

Two leafy water plants 

Twined together, undulating warm bermuda sea 


Entangled so that no one 

Not even plants themselves can tell 

Which leaf 

Which stem 

Belongs to which. 

The bemushroomed person 
is poised in space, a dis- 
embodied eye, invisible, in- 
corporeal, seeing but not 

Gone again, gone into 

Palace by Nile 

Temple near Hong Kong 

Babylonian boudoir, Bedouin pleasure tent 

Gem-flash jewel 

Woven color silk gown movement 

Mosaics flaming color Muzo emerald Burma rubies 

Ceylon sapphire 

Mosaics lighted from within glowing, moving, 


Hundred reptiles, Jewel encrusted. Hammered 

Moorish patterned 


Snake mosaic, reptiles piled in 

Giant, mile-square chest 

Slide, slither, tumble down central 



In truth, he is the five 
senses disembodied, all of 
them keyed to the height of 
sensitivity and awareness, 
all of them blending into 
one another most strangely, 
until the person, utterly 
passive, becomes a pure 
receptor, infinitely delicate, 
of sensations. 

26 00 God Reveals Himself 

As your body lies there in 
its sleeping bag, your soul 
is free, loses all sense of 
time, alert as it never was 
before, living an eternity in 
a night, seeing infinity in 
a grain of sand. 





Such happy beauty 
I lift up head to laugh 
From around come answering chuckles. 
Who? There are others here? 
Eye open 

Gerhart and Joan on next bed laughing 
Next to me mermaid, laughing. 
Put hand on hip where 
Skin pokes through bikini lacings 
Hand up soft back until fingers 
Sink in quicksand of flesh through skin through ribs 
Closed eyes 
Moving belts like 
Inlaid Moorish patterns 

What you have seen and 
heard is cut as with a burin 
into your memory, never to 
be effaced. 

At last you know what the 
ineffable is and what ec- 
stasy means. 

Plummeting back through time, 

snake time, 
fish time 
Down through giant jungle palm time, 
greeny lacy ferny leaf time. 
Watching first life oozing, 
twisting up. 
Watching first sea thing crawl to shore 
Lie with her. Sand-rasp under cheek 
Then float sea-thing, down 
Deep green sea dark 
I am first living 
Thing I 

Laughter in dark room it is interesting to con- 
template a tangled bank clothed with many 
plants of many kinds Gerhart sitting up in dark 
shouting WITH BDRDS singing on the bushes with 
various insects flitting about Oh God don't let 

28 00 God Reveals Himself 

The mind harks back to the 
origin of that word. For 
the Greeks ekstasis meant 
the flight of the soul from 
the body. I can find no 
better word to describe the 
bemush roomed state. 

In common parlance, among 
the many who have not ex- 
perienced ecstasy, ecstasy 
is fun, and I am frequently 
asked why I do not reach 
for mushrooms every night. 

But ecstasy is not fun. Your 
very soul is seized and 
shaken until it tingles. 

this end and with worms crawling through the 
damp earth Gerhart goatee bobbing and to re- 

so different from each other Gerhart gone in 
ecstasy and dependent on each other in so com- 
plex a manner I know his ecstasy have all been 
produced by laws acting around us We are high. 
High Priests 

these laws taken in ancient evolution trail thus 
from the war of nature, from famine and death 
down to fishy bottom Float with plankton the 
most exalted object which we are capable of 
conceiving namely down the littoral Tumbling 
past coral reef the production of the higher 
animals directly follows and barnacled sea 
cliff Fathoms down through tangled jungle there 
is grandeur in this view of life Once we were 
all double-celled creatures Remember that whdle 
this planet has gone on cycling on according 
to the fixed laws of gravity Once we all drifted 
down soft red-walled caverns from so simple a 


wonderful Our neurons remember have been 
and are being evolved Do you remember 

Then begins Blake's long red voyage every time 


blood stream is equal in its period and value to 
six thousand years floating, bouncing along lab- 
yrinthian tunnels for in this moment the poet's 
work is done artery, arteriole and all the great 
events of time start forth through every capillary 


honey-comb tissue world within a moment: a pul- 
sation of artery along soft watermelon channels 


blood part clotted scarlet swamps coagulate is 


tumbling thru caverned heart hall, ventricular and 


the smooth aortic shute of man's blood opens slow 
bumping into narrow tunneled plexus into eter- 
nity, OF WHICH THE VEGETABLE EARTH feel heart's 

muscle motor prodding us 

August 1960 00 29 

Chuckles from across room 

All fall in soft laugh 

Some scene 

Four sprawl in darkened room 

Opium den of purest dreams 

Oh you worldling looking in think 
you evil no you wrong evil in your 
mental coin your evil makes me 
compassion laugh 
here is no evil 

Diamond virtue 

Pure blue pureness 

Beyond desire 


Needle moment 

Buddha unity 

After all, who will choose 
to feel undiluted awe, or to 
float through that door yon- 
der into the divine pres- 

The unknowing abuse the 
word, but we must recap- 
ture its full and terrifying 

This uniting of the human past with the Divinity in 
solemn moments of religious inspiration established 
the bond between God and man. The ruler who 
revered the Divinity in revering his ancestors be- 
came thereby the Son of Heaven, in whom the 
heavenly and the earthly world met in mystical 
contact. (IChingXVI) 


why we laugh do you understand 

thinking about that paradox 

of mental evil and 

the mind-less clean diamond that's 

why we laugh 
Words and thinking 
Are not as important as we 
Said and thought 

And so we four drugged ontologists 
Lift up heads and laugh 

Mandy stone carved Semitic mask above water 
don't sleep don't sleep 
Miss the beauty if you sleep 
No one sleeps 

Head fall back on bed. Floating, tumble weed, wind 
driven, certain seeds, falling on water recome 

As man emerged from his 
brutish past, thousands of 
years ago, there was a 
stage in the evolution of 
his awareness when the 
discovery of a mushroom 
(or perhaps a higher plant) 
with miraculous properties 
was a revelation to him, 

a veritable detonator to his 
soul, arousing in him senti- 
ments of awe and rever- 
ence, and gentleness and 
love, to the highest pitch 
of which mankind is ca- 
pable, all those sentiments 
and virtues that mankind 
has ever since regarded as 
the highest attributes of his 

30 00 God Reveals Himself 

It made him see what the 
perishing mortal eye cannot 
see. The Greeks were right 
to hedge about this mys- 
tery, this imbibing of the 
potion, with secrecy and 

What today is resolved into 
the effects of a mere drug, 
a tryptamine or lysergic 
acid derivative, was for 
them a prodigious miracle, 
inspiring in them poetry and 
philosophy and religion. 

duckweed. Dropping again down shaft of time. 


the water they recome lichen. See tiger jungle 
cats, sinewy. Good-bye. reaching rich soil, they 


or hsu. See reptiles jewelry. Good-bye. so god cre- 

swarm. Now I see the straggly shore creatures. 
Good-bye, dear friends, the yang chi grafted to 


drifting down past flowering sea life. Good-bye. 


kind. Drifting down through the history of my body 
which is all body down to the red, wet, warm begin- 

rehold it was very good. I am down to the center. 

To the single point of origin. Hello. 

lay pulsing softly center 

of all life and time 

I the giant eye . . . 

Giant eye I 

Giant eye 



Perhaps with all our mod- 
ern knowledge we do not 
need the divine mushrooms 
any more. Perhaps we need 
them more than ever. 

Some are shocked that the 
key to religion might be re- 
duced to a drug. 

Lying ecstatic eyes closed on a Triassic-Jurassic 
sedentary rock formation, one hand on Mandy's 
vertebrae hearing interstellar voices from the Mex- 
ican patio, light years away. Voice calls. Where are 
you? Here! I am lying unicelled looking up up up 
through the spiral unfolding of two billion years, 
seeing it all ahead of me, ovum, segmentation, 
differentiation of organs, plant, fish, mammal, 
monkey, baby, grammar school, college, Harvard, 
Mexico, Cuernavaca. They want me way up there. 
Is it worth the whole journey? To start the two- 
billion-year cycle once again? No. Why bother? 
Let's move over to the Precambrian sludge, no too 
wet, abysses, overlying waters, narrow littoral rocks, 
let's try that Cenozoic snaky jungle. Ah, yes. 

32 00 God Reveals Himself 

On the other hand, the drug 
is as mysterious as it ever 
was: Like the wind it com- 
eth we know not whence 
nor why. 


If our classical scholars 
were given the opportunity 
to attend the rite at Eleusis, 
to talk with the priestess, 
they would exchange any- 
thing for that chance. 

Mandy and I peer out of cage at earthlings 

Acapulco friends who have just arrived 

Humor of situation pushes over brink to laughter 

Friends listen Dicko orate 

Shoots nervous glances in our direction 

Wildly funny 

then i realize responsibility 

and role as host 

and walk out to porch and have 

friendly conversation with new arrivals 

explaining what is 

happening and telling them to go to 

kitchen for drink and we will be 

eating supper in hour or so they are 

relieved and we conclude our 

perfectly normal conversation 

They would approach the 
precincts, enter the hal- 
lowed chamber with the 
reverence born of the texts 
venerated by scholars for 

And that would be their 
frame of mind if they were 
invited to partake of the po- 

Quiet waters roll and Dettering 

Old rumpled crocodile paddles up 

Dettering reports that the rest of the 

crowd had landed back on shore and 

were gathered around the kitchen 


Whiskers had returned and Gerhart 

was dictating notes to him. 


on livingroom couch 

head in flesh pool of Mandy lap 

Plastic forms spinning in eyelid 

Ruth standing above us 
<]Que tal? 

August 1960 00 

Join us in the kitchen, everyone talking 

No, Ruth. 

Good-bye Ruth. 

^Adonde vas? 

To slinky sea bottom. 

Ruth leans down and shakes my shoulder. 

Take me with you. Tell me what you see 

No. No. Dear nurse Ruth. 

I can't. 

Ask marlin to take you with him on slippery, 


skimming jumping run for joy across and 
under the sun-specked ocean 
Ask your blood to sing the song of voyage 

down to wine-red cavern of your 
Can they speak your language? No? 
Neither me. My voice trails off as I head 


Head falls through 
Butter belly and 
Melon womb to 
Sofa cushions 

Mandy is getting up to check 

on guests 
At the far end of the pool Mandy and I sit 
on beach chairs. She climbs on lap. We throw 
heads back and watch gray clouds skudding along 
black sky. 
Magic mushrooms 
Sculpting clouds 
Into Roman emperors 

Greek gods 

Football scrimmages 

Cavalry charges 
We sit for full half -hour 
No words 

Soft laughter at secret we share 

The gray masses change back to clouds for 
longer and longer and longer periods and all 
at once my legs feel cramped and the chill of 
night air and 
the trance is over. 

Well, those rites take place 
now, unbeknownst to the 
classical scholars, in scat- 
tered dwellings, humble, 
thatched, without windows, 
far from the beaten track. 

If it is the rainy season, per- 
haps the mystery is accom- 
plished by torrential rains 
and punctuated by terrifying 

Then, indeed, as you lie 
there bemush roomed, lis- 
tening to the music and 
seeing visions, you know a 
soul-shattering experience, 

recalling as you do the be- 
lief of some primitive peo- 
ples that mushrooms, the 
sacred mushrooms, are di- 
vinely engendered by Jupi- 
ter Fulminans, 

34 00 God Reveals Himself 

The time was 9:07 and the journey into the other 
half of the cerebral cortex had lasted four hours 
and seven minutes from the time of eating. 

And that was the trip. 

It was the classic visionary voyage and I came 
back a changed man. You are never the same after 
you've had that one flash glimpse down the cellular 
time tunnel. You are never the same after you've 
had the veil drawn. 

In the seven years since eating seven mushrooms 
in a garden in Mexico I have devoted all of my 
time and energy to the exploration and description 
of these strange deep realms. 

the god of the lightning- 
bolt, in the soft mother 



It furthers one to install helpers 
And to set armies marching. 




The Revelation Is Awe-Full: 





September 1960 !3d 

Guide: jack leary O 

Oracle: IX 
The taming power of the small 

The Gentle, Wind 

The Creative, Heaven 

The wind drives across heaven: 

The image of the taming power of the 


Thus the superior man 

Refines the outward aspect of his nature. 



From Playboy magazine: 

On a sunny Saturday after- 
noon in 1960, beside the 
swimming pool of his rented 
summer villa in Cuernavaca, 
a 39-year-old American ate 
a handful of odd-looking 
mushrooms he'd bought 
from the witch doctor of a 
nearby village. 

Within minutes, he recalled 
later, he felt himself "be- 
ing swept over the edge of 
a sensory Niagara into a 
maelstrom of transcen- 
dental visions and halluci- 

The fungi were legendary 
"sacred mushrooms" that 
have since become known 
and feared by many, as one 
of the psychedelic (literally, 
mind-manifesting) chemi- 
cals that have created a na- 
tional fad among the na- 
tion's young and a scandal 
in the press. 

The American was a Har- 
vard psychotherapist named 
Timothy Leary, who has 
since found himself trans- 
mogrified from scientist and 
researcher into progenitor 
and high priest of a revo- 
lutionary movement. 

At dinner the night after the visions, the maid asked 
if she could take the mushrooms over to the ser- 
vants' cottage to show her husband. Ah, Lola, you 
want him to find you some? Lola's eyes narrowed 
and she made a gesture of disgust. No, Senor. 
Mdlos. Muy malos. Ruth leaned forward, rapid 
Spanish. Why do you want your husband to see 
them, Lola? The maid took a step backward, 
crouching. So he will see them, Senora, and know 
them, and never eat them. The plate with black 
twisted mushrooms was on the mantel. When I 
picked it up several flies spiraled away. Lola held 
the plate at arm's length and scuttled from the room. 

Lola's face had a look of bitter dread. I didn't 
know then that we were to meet this same fear of 
the visionary unknown at every step along the road 
to come. 

Ruth was looking out the window and she turned 
with a puzzled smile on her face. Strange sight, she 
said. Lola's half-running across the lawn with the 
plate of mushrooms in one hand and crossing her- 
self with the other. 

There was fear in the air the next day in Mexico 
City. I sensed it on the Paseo de la Reforma, the 
broad, grand pride of Mexico. Twelve cars wide, 
split by grass strips and tree lanes, lined with 
statues, sweeping into round wide glorietas, hum- 
ming like a power-line with speeding cars. As I 
drove along near Sanborns, the traffic slowed. The 
American embassy building was ringed with hun- 
dreds of police troopers, black boots, black leather 
belts. They looked half -fierce and half -embarrassed. 
I remembered reading about the left-wing student 
riots. Cuba si. Yanqui, no. The government was 
moving with a nervous show of force. 

I was having lunch with a sociologist named 
Lewis. Trouble as usual parking, and I found him 

September 1960 00 37 

waiting at a table in Prendes. He declined a 
cigarette and hesitated when I ordered a vermouth 
and then decided to join me. He talked about his 
studies of village life in southern Mexico and 
Guatemala. He had lifted the lid and poked around 
inside and what he described wasn't pretty. The 
sick. The miserable. The bullies. The victims. The 
hopeless. The grinding pressure of no money, lousy 
food, distrust, waking before dawn in a cold hut, 
your body stiff and crusted with yesterday's sweat 
and dirt, your mouth sour, your bowels running, 
haunted by your debts, your fearful ignorance of 
why it all works out this way and what to do. Lewis 
really told you how it was in concrete terms. Human 
helplessness. No happy theories to explain it away 
either. I liked him for that. 

We ordered seafood and I had a half-bottle 
of smoky Mexican white wine. Lewis was a sensitive 
man. He was disturbed by what he had seen and 
had to write about. He loved the Mexicans and 
hated sociological theory. He was bitter because he 
had been attacked by the political book reviewers, 
and the psychoanalytic book reviewers and the 
theorists and his American colleagues who saw a 
rich, pa'ssionate, Freudian warmth in his villagers. 
He had heard vaguely of the sacred mushrooms 
but had never paid much attention to the reports 
about them. 

Mandy and I took the elevator way up to the 
skytop restaurant of the Latino-American building. 
We sat drinking tequila and looking through the 
glass wall out over the valley of Mexico. The air 
was hazy blue except where some white clouds 
hung over the western volcanic peaks. The whole 
historic bit was right there in front of us. There was 
the dusty flatland around the airport which used to 
be a lake and the old colonial section with crum- 
bling tezontle churches and palaces, and the sky- 
scrapers running out to the modern sections and 
there out beyond, the acres of tenements. We 
watched airliners sliding down sloping trajectories 
and I thought of Dick Alpert flying to Mexico to 
pick me up in his Cessna, at this moment, some- 
where a mile high over Jalisco, poring over his 
airmaps and checking the green patterns below, 

A movement spawned not 
by an idea but by a sub- 
stance that's been called 
"the spiritual equivalent of 
the hydrogen bomb." 

Few men, in their youth, 
would have seemed less 
likely to emerge as a reli- 
gious leader, let alone as a 
rebel with a cause. 

At the age of 19, Leary dis- 
tressed his Roman Catholic 
mother by abandoning Holy 
Cross two years before 
graduation ("The scholastic 
approach to religion didn't 
turn me on"). 

Then he affronted his 
father, a retired army ca- 
reer officer, by walking out 
of West Point after 18 
months ("My interests were 
philosophic rather than mil- 

Not until he transferred to 
the University of Alabama 
did he begin to settle down 
academically to work for 
his B.A. in psychology. 

On graduation in 1942, he 
enlisted as an army psy- 
chologist, served in a Penn- 
sylvania hospital until the 
end of the war. 

38 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

He then resumed his 
schooling and earned his 
Ph.D. at the University of 
California at Berkeley. 

Acquiring both eminence 
and enemies with his first 
major jobs as director 
of Oakland's progressive 
Kaiser Foundation hospital 
and as an assistant pro- 
fessor at UC's school of 
medicine in San Francisco. 

Leary began to display the 
courage and sometimes 
rash iconoclasm that have 
since marked every phase 
of his checkered career. 

Contending that traditional 
psychiatric methods were 
hurting as many patients as 
they helped, he resigned in 
1958 and signed up as a 
lecturer on clinical psy- 
chology at Harvard. 

Here he began to evolve 
and enunciate the theory 
of social interplay and per- 
sonal behavior as so many 
stylized games, since popu- 
larized by Dr. Eric Berne 
in his best-selling book, 
Games People Play. 

looking for the landmarks to guide him in to the 
Guadalajara airport. 

I had started taking narcotics too early in the 
day, wine at lunch, tequila in the cocktail lounge 
and by the time the good restaurants were serving 
dinner, I was heavy and tired. Liquor contracts 
consciousness. Soggy symbols. Mandy was being 
very college-girl. I was missing the Semitic mermaid 
with the sculptured lines and got bored and irri- 

A classic liquor high. Around midnight we ran 
into Poet Betty in the mariachi section. By this 
time, the taste of tequila was perfumey obnoxious 
and the lime taste was acrid and the musicians 
were puffy, pouter pigeons buttoned into their fake 
ranchero costumes just as sick of singing the same 
old ballads as I was of hearing them. When 
Guadalajara de Noche closed at one o'clock, we 
had coffee in the mariachi market and I drove 
Poet Betty home and then stood in the hallway of 
Mandy's house and for a moment I felt the message 
of the mushrooms which is the wordless, mindless 
rapture of the moment. I started a miserable debate 
with myself about the next move. I wanted to drive 
to Cuernavaca but I knew that I'd have to come 
back to meet Dick Alpert at the airport next after- 

Around three in the morning I was standing in 
front of the hotel, Virreyes, leaning against a lamp- 
post, sodden, tired, hung on the hooks of indecision, 
deciding whether to drive back or sleep the rest of 
the night in the city. The coin came down stay. As 
I turned to walk to the hotel entrance, my shoe 
caught in a metal hook sticking from the bottom of 
the post. I moved forward. My shoe caught. I fell. 
Crouched on the sidewalk, on my hands and knees, 
I looked up. A group of taxi-drivers and Mexican 
hotel hangers-on were standing at the lobby en- 
trance. Their talk stopped and they turned to stare 
down at me. My eyes moved from one face to the 
next, to the next. Then I lifted myself up slowly, 
slapped the dirt from my hands and walked into the 

When I got to Mandy's house for lunch there was 
a message. Dick Alpert had phoned from Guadala- 

September 1960 00 39 

jara and would be landing at Mexico City airport in 
an hour. I found him closing his flight plan in the 
operations office. Dick is tall, blond, and boyish, 
full of silly enthusiasms and during his three-day 
flight down the west coast and over the mountains 
he had fallen in love with Mexico. We piled his 
luggage in the car and stopped at a tienda for beer 
and potato chips and headed out past the university 
on to the toll road and started climbing through 
the cloudy passes out of the valley. Dick stretched 
out his legs in the front seat and began telling me 
how happy the Mexican people were and how much 
more sensible their life was than the American. On 
his flight down, there was always a cab driver who 
would see him circling over the town and by the 
time Dick had set the plane down on the cow- 
pasture runway, the taxi would be waiting for him 
and sometimes there would be not one but two or 
three girls in the cab for him to take his pick. 

They're relaxed. They smile. They love music. 
They know what the important values are. 

That's right, Dick, I said. And when they get 
bored with their small town and their cab and the 
whorehouse where they work, why they just jump 
in their plane and fly away to the next country 
that hits their fancy. 

Dick flashed his modest boy smile. I suppose 
I'm talking like the typical naive American tourist. 
The happy native bit. 

They're stuck. They have no choice. Is that right? 

I told him that I didn't know. Because I didn't 
know. But I was sure that the Mexicans had no 
secrets that Americans lack, because there weren't 
any Mexicans at all but fifty million men and 
women with eyes and ears and brains and hearts 
more or less hung up on their own mental chess- 
boards, different from our chess pieces maybe, but 
hung up all the same. 

So, I didn't know. Ever since last weekend and 
the mushrooms I didn't know as much any more. I 
had started the slow process of throwing things 
out of mind, junking mental furniture that had been 
clogging up my brain. I used to know a lot about 
Mexico, generalizations, theories. 

Now I was beginning to see that all I knew were 

He began to both preach 
and practice the effective 
but unconventional new 
psychiatric research tech- 
nique of sending his stu- 
dents to study emotional 
problems such as alcohol- 
ism where they germinate 
rather than in the text- 
book or the laboratory. 

At the time, predictably 
enough, few of these novel 
notions went over very well 
with Leary's hidebound col- 

But their rumblings of 
skepticism rose to a chorus 
of outrage when Leary re- 
turned to Harvard in 1960 
from his pioneering voyage 
into inner space. 

He began experimenting on 
himself, his associates, and 
hundreds of volunteer sub- 
jects with measured doses 
of psilocybin, the chemical 
derivative of the sacred 

vowing "to dedicate the 
rest of my life as a psy- 
chologist to the systematic 
exploration of this new in- 

He and his rapidly multiply- 
ing followers began to turn 
on with the other psyche- 
delic drugs: 

morning glory seeds, nut- 
meg, marijuana, peyote, 
mescaline and a colorless, 
odorless, tasteless but in- 
credibly potent laboratory 
compound called LSD 25. 

40 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

LSD was first synthesized in 
1938 by a Swiss biochemist 
seeking a pain-killer for 
migraine headaches. 

A hundred times stronger 
than psilocybin, LSD sent 
its hallucinated users on 
multihued, multileveled rol- 
ler coaster rides so spec- 
tacular that it soon became 
Leary's primary tool for re- 

And as word began to cir- 
culate about the fantastic, 
phantasmagorical "trips" 
taken by his students, it 
soon became a clandestine 
campus kick. 

By 1962 it had become an 
underground cult among 
the young avant-garde from 
Los Angeles. 

faded memories of a few hundred conversations 
with Mexicans about Mexico and faded memories 
of a few books written by American minds in 
American words. An American head-trip imposed 
on a different way of life. I knew nothing, really 
my words, lies 

just memories of myself 

strung along the 

wires of my mind 
Dick spinning theories about Mexicans 
Started the chuckling 
Mild replica of the 

We had just passed the summit at Tres Marias 
and were heading down the long descent to 
Morelos. I began to tell Dick about the mushrooms. 
He listened to my story and then he surprised me 
with his response. 

Sounds very much like marijuana. You've never 
tried it? Same reaction. Feelings of detachment. 
Intensification of color and sound. Euphoria. Sense 
of having discovered some great wisdom. Every- 
one's been smoking pot for years around San Fran- 
cisco and Greenwich Village. There are regular 
cults of tea-heads. A friend of mine gave me two 
pounds of pot when he left for Europe. I smoked it 
for awhile but got bored with it and finally it dried 
up and I threw most of it away. 

This was some development! Was that all I had 
experienced? Were the mystic visions and the orien- 
tal dreams just a stronger version of a Greenwich 
Village pot high? I had been sure we were on the 
verge of something new and great. A pushing back 
of the frontiers of consciousness. But now it looked 
as though I was just a naive, sheltered intellectual 
discovering what hip teen-agers on the North Beach 
had been experiencing for years. 

The late afternoon thunderstorm was going full 
blast as we rolled down the last long straight grade 
into Cuernavaca. Dick decided to spend the first 
night in Tepoztlan with the McClellands, who were 
renting a house for the summer. The Tepoztlan 
road at sundown. Herdsmen nudging along their 
cattle. Indians trudging home from the milpas with 

September 1960 00 41 

machetes and rakes over their shoulders. The rain 
makes for a greater scene. The headlights on the 
white ponchos slumped over plodding burros. The 
valley of Tepoztlan is haunted. It's the nave of a 
prehistoric cathedral with the roof blown off and 
the huge pillared cliff walls still standing, and the 
land is always damp, and dark-green, and teeming 
with sad memories. Dick's story about the mari- 
juana and the rain, and the tequila fatigue from last 
night, they all began to hit and I felt disillusioned. 

The hexagram presents a configuration of circum- 
stances in which a strong element is temporarily 
held in leash by a weak element. It is only through 
gentleness that this can have a successful outcome. 

Thursday was clear and sunny. I spent that 
afternoon lying by the pool. I was way behind on 
my writing, but all I did was soak up sun and sweat 
and think. I tried to ask Dick Dettering about the 
mushrooms but he didn't want to talk. He was 
worrying about giving a lecture in Spanish. He had 
given the speech a hundred times in English, but 
he had no ear for Spanish and when he read the 
translation he sounded like a Midwesterner reading 
names from the Cuernavaca telephone book. He 
seemed to have forgotten the mushrooms. 

When the sun would get too hot, I'd take my son 
Jack's rubber water goggles and his snorkle breath- 
ing tube and swim in the pool. The mask made every- 
thing under water seem sharp, 



clear. . . . 
grained surface of pool ... abstract canvas . . . 
blue tile border glowing . . . sapphire ribbon . . . 
living green threads . . . hung in azure . . . sun- 
specked water . . . before . . . pool was . . . 
pool blue water . . . felt good when hot . . . now 
. . . giant . . . fluid . . . gem box. . . . 

The pool had not changed. My retina and the 
brain stuff behind it had changed, turned-on. The 
water hadn't been drained in two weeks and all 
that green algae stuff, however beautiful to the 

Playboy: How many times 
have you used LSD, Dr. 

Leary: Up to this moment, 
I've had 311 psychedelic 

Playboy: What do you think 
it's done for you and to 

Leary: That's difficult to an- 
swer easily. Let me say 
this: when I was 39 I had 
my first psychedelic ex- 
perience. At that time I was 
a middle-aged man in- 
volved in the middle-aged 
process of dying. 

My joy in life, my sensual 
openness, my creativity 
were all sliding downhill. 

Since that time, six years 
ago, my life has been re- 
newed in almost every di- 

42 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

Most of my colleagues at 
the University of California 
and at Harvard, of course, 
feel that I've become ec- 
centric and a kook. 

I would estimate that fewer 
than 15 percent of my pro- 
fessional colleagues under- 
stand and support what 
I'm doing. 

The ones who do, as you 
might expect, tend to be 
among the younger psy- 
chologists. Psychedelic 
drugs are the medium of the 
young. As you move up the 
age scale into the 30's, 
40's, and 50's fewer and 
fewer people are open to 
the possibilities that these 
chemicals offer. 

Playboy: Why is that? 

Leary: To the person over 
35 or 40, the word "drug" 
means one of two things: 
doctor-disease or dope 

Nothing you can say to a 
person who has this neuro- 
logical fix on the word 
"drug" is going to change 
his mind. 

mushroomed eye, had to go. The next morning we 
were expecting special guests. The Soviet cultural 
attache coming down for the day. I had met him 
twice at cocktail parties where he had been sur- 
rounded by my countrymen, politically wise beyond 
their years from reading Time magazine and 
liquored up enough to think they could win the 
great debate. Both times I had felt shame at the 
spectacle and had moved in to talk friendly with 
him about Russian education and his impressions of 
Mexico and Cuba. He was young, new at his job, 
eager to be liked, well-informed, terribly confident, 
proud of his country, and, when tight, pathetically 
puzzled at why Americans misunderstood him and 
his peaceful intentions. 

I wanted things to go smoothly when Leonov 
and his friends arrived for lunch. The pool should 
be emptied and cleaned. This meant a clash with 
Lola the maid. To her it meant extra work and a 
larger water bill to explain to her absentee land- 
lords. Nothing for her to gain. Something to lose. 
Passive resistance. Also, she had changed since I 
took the mushrooms. She was suspicious. I had 
angered her somehow. Made her afraid of me. I 
knew she'd stall until 3:30 so our water would drain 
on the eighth green of the golf club after sunset. 

At 3:30 I mobilized my son and Pepe his friend. 
If we cleaned it now and started filling at sundown 
it would be full enough for the Russians to swim 
the next day. Pepe, go tell your mother we are 
going to clean the pool. 

Lola came darting out of her cottage. She shook 
her head as we talked. The gardener was at school. 
Mariana. Mariana es mejor. Hear me, Lola, Tomor- 
row is Friday. Come friends tomorrow from Mex- 
ico. Necessitates much time to fill the pool. Correct? 
We must clean the pool today or wait until Mon- 
day. True? Okay, Lola, you are the director. We 
shall wait. But she didn't. 

In the morning the pool was clean but empty. A 
thin trickle of fresh water puddled on the bottom. 
No one would swim today, Russians or Americans. 
Ruth was drinking coffee. She was calm and 
amused at my anger. She defended the maid. Lola 
was in the kitchen. When I finished giving her my 

September 1960 00 43 

opinion I banged my hand on the metal sink. Ruth's 
cool disapproving eyes followed me into the bed- 
room. I was in a rage, undercut by both women. 
Gone mushroom tranquility. 

I was still smarting when the Russian came. The 
day went badly. It was hot and they had brought 
their bathing suits. Aztec duplicity exposed Ameri- 
can inhospitality to Communist diplomat. We sat 
by the end of the pool listening to the thin splash of 
water and drank too much too early in the day. I 
talked to him about the mushrooms, but he wasn't 
interested and became irritable. The weary pushing 
of alcohol-soggy symbols back and forth across the 
board. He wanted to know why Americans used 
germ warfare in Korea. The only mistake the Rus- 
sians made in Hungary was to delay sending in 
troops. Russian women were by far the most beau- 
tiful in the world. The American secret police 
would arrest me if he came to see me in America. I 
was going to give him my address so that he would 
be sure to visit me in Cambridge anyway, but after 
they left, I remembered that I had forgotten. 

Lola had stayed out of sight most of the day, and 
when she appeared down on the lawn feeding the 
animals, our eyes never met. 

The next day was my last day at the villa. Dick 
Alpert and my son and I were to fly back to 
California after the weekend. And the weekend 
continued bad. Gerhart and Joan and Mandy ar- 
rived at noon. They brought no mushrooms. Ger- 
hart had climbed for three hours to reach the 
village, but Juana the witch was nowhere to be 
found. No one knew where she was nor when she'd 
come back. The villagers were mysterious and 

This didn't bother any of last week's veterans. No 
one really wanted to repeat. I was expecting one 
prospective mushroomer later in the day, but I 
wasn't disturbed by the thought of his missing out. 
He was an anthropologist who had spent three 
years in a Mexican village, which he now called 
"my village," and he and his wife sang Mexican 
ballads together and produced endless facts about 
Mexican life. He was a pleasant intellectual chap 

He's frozen like a Pavlovian 
dog to this conditioned re- 
flex. To people under 
25, on the other hand, the 
word "drug" refers to a 
wide range of mind benders 
running from alcohol, ener- 
gizers, and stupefiers to 
marijuana and the other 
psychedelic drugs. 

To middle-aged America, 
it may be synonymous with 
instant insanity, but to most 
Americans under 25, the 
psychedelic drug means 
ecstasy, sensual unfolding, 
religious experience, reve- 
lation, illumination, contact 
with nature. 

There's not a teen-ager or 
young person in the United 
States today who doesn't 
know at least one person 
who has had a good ex- 
perience with marijuana or 

The horizons of the current 
younger generation, in 
terms of expanded con- 
sciousness, are light-years 
beyond those of their par- 

The breakthrough has oc- 
curred; there's no going 
back. The psychedelic bat- 
tle is won. 

44 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

Playboy: Why, then, have 
you called for a one-year 
"cease-fire" on the use of 
LSD and marijuana? 

Leary: Because there have 
never been two generations 
of human beings so far 
apart living essentially in 
two different worlds, speak- 
ing two different languages 
as the people over 25 
and the younger generation. 

Evolutionary misunderstand- 
ing causes bloodshed and 

but scared stiff of the mushrooms. He wanted to 
take them because it was like a duty. If he was to 
know Mexico he should know the native ritual. 

Gerhart had an idea. We can give him the mush- 
rooms left over from last week. They're dried by 
now, but that's all right. They retain their potency 
indefinitely. Just to make sure, we can start him out 
on a stronger dose. 

The anthropologist and his wife arrived at two 
and when I went to the gate to let them in, there 
were three American college kids about to ring the 
bell. They were friends of Poet Betty. The boy was 
a Princeton sophomore and the girls were just 
starting at Mount Holyoke College. The college 
crowd went inside to change into swimming suits 
and I mixed drinks and sat in the dining room 
talking with the anthropologist about the mush- 
room situation. He said he was willing to try them 
dried. His wife would watch. He was extremely 


To relieve this situation I 
have asked the younger 
generation to cool it for a 
year and to use this mora- 
torium period to explain to 
their parents and to their 
jailers what LSD and 
marijuana are, and why we 
want and intend to use 

I have made clear that this 
is a voluntary waiving of the 
constitutional right to 
change your own con- 

Do you wish to look, Frodo? said the Lady Galad- 
riel. You did not wish to see Elf-magic and were 

Do you advise me to look? asked Frodo. 

No, she said. I do not counsel you one way or 
another. I am not a counsellor. You may learn 
something, and whether what you see be fair or 
evil, that may be profitable, and yet it may not. 
Seeing is both good and perilous. Yet I think, 
Frodo, that you have courage and wisdom enough 
for the venture, or I would not have brought you 
here. Do as you will! 

I will look, said Frodo, and he climbed on the 
pedestal and bent over the dark water. (The Lord 
of the Rings) 

But I suggested this as a 
conciliatory gesture to mol- 
lify and educate the older 
generation and to allow 
time for the younger people 
to learn more about how 
to turn on. 

I was worried a bit about the anthropological 
panic and decided to round up someone to take the 
visions with him. If necessary, I was resolved to 
join him myself, although I had no desire to do so. 
The college kids were the only ones around the villa 
who hadn't mushroomed and when I asked them, 
they said sure, why not. The young kids were the 
first people I had talked to who were not automati- 

September 1960 00 45 

cally, reflexedly frightened at the idea of expanding 
consciousness. The psychedelic generation. 

So we all sat around the dining room table while 
I counted the black twisted knobs into five bowls. 
Eight for anthro. Eight for Princeton. Eight to tall 
Mount Holyoke, eight to short. 

And eight in the fifth bowl which I kept in front 
of me. Three college kids examined the dried sticks 
curiously and popped them in their mouths. They 
went through their bowls quickly. Good little chil- 
dren. Then they sat back happily waiting for the 

Not anthro. He picked up a knob, studied it from 
every angle, sniffed it, asked several questions 
about their origin and their effect. I could see drops 
of sweat on his brow just below the hair line. He 
didn't look happy. Finally, seeing that we were all 
watching him, waiting, he bit the end of the plant 
and made tasting sounds. Then his face scrunched 
up. Whew, they taste rotten. Are you sure they 
aren't poisonous? He took another bite and asked 
about dysentery. He continued to eat very slowly, 
forcing them down. 

The green bowl in front of me became a magnet. 
Why not take them and return to the garden of 
ecstasy? More wisdom waits there. My mind 
argued for taking the mushrooms. So simple. There 
they are in the bowl ten inches from your mouth. 
But there wasn't one shred of desire pushing me 
towards them. My brain said yes. The second ex- 
perience will be more enlightening. It will give you 
a basis for comparison. But I was scared too. I must 
have spent five minutes sitting there holding a 
black knob between my thumb and forefinger. 
Finally, I threw it back and pushed the bowl away. 
I'll take them if Dick Alpert wants to join me when 
he arrives. 

The college crowd had long since drifted out to 
the patio, lying on beach chairs, waiting. Anthro 
still sat stiffly in front of his half -emptied bowl. He 
never did finish them. His wife sat next to him in 
solemn silence. 

After thirty minutes, after forty minutes, after 
fifty minutes, nothing had happened. After an hour 
the colleges ate the rest of the mushrooms and after 

I'm demanding that this 
period also be a mora- 
torium on hysterical legis- 
lation and on punitive ar- 
rests of young people for 
the possession of LSD and 

If at the end of one year, 
the older generation has 
not taken advantage of this 
cease-fire, I predict and in- 
deed urge a firm statement 
on the part of everyone in- 
volved that they intend to 
resume the use of psyche- 

That they will exercise their 
constitutional rights to ex- 
pand their own conscious- 
ness whatever the cost. 

Playboy: What do you say 
to the standard charge that 
LSD is too powerful and 
dangerous to entrust to the 

Leary: Well, none of us yet 
knows exactly how LSD can 
be used for the growth and 
benefit of the human being. 

It is a powerful releaser of 
energy as yet not fully un- 
derstood. But if I'm con- 
fronted with the possibility 
that a 15-year-old or a 50- 
year-old is going to use a 
new form of energy that he 
doesn't understand, I'll 
back the 15-year-old every 

46 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

Why? Because a 15-year- 
old is going to use a new 
form of energy to have 
fun, to intensify sensation, 
to make love, for curiosity, 
for personal growth. 

Many 50-year-olds have lost 
their curiosity, have lost 
their ability to make love, 
have dulled their openness 
to new sensations, and 
would use any form of new 
energy for power, control, 
and warfare. 

So it doesn't concern me at 
all that young people are 
taking time out from the 
educational and occupa- 
tional assembly lines to ex- 
periment with conscious- 
ness, to dabble with new 
forms of experience and ar- 
tistic expression. 

The present generation un- 
der the age of 25 is the 
wisest and holiest genera- 
tion that the human race 
has ever seen. 

And, by God, instead of 
lamenting, derogating and 
imprisoning them, we 
should support them, listen 
to them, and turn on with 


two hours there was nothing to do but to apologize 
like a poor host. The college faces were fallen in 
disappointment, but anthro and wife didn't seem to 

Dick Alpert and the McClellands from Tepoztlan 
arrived and some more people from the capital 
dropped in and a professor from Amherst got lec- 
turing drunk and a State Department officer, who 
was bitter about his job and our Latin policy and 
his boss, got very funny, sarcastic drunk and the 
others sat around the table and made intellectual 
talk. And that was about the way the summer in 
Cuernavaca ended. 

Oh no, there was one final incident on Sunday 
morning. I went through that saddest routine of 
packing and checking the house over and over 
again, finding things that I had forgotten. Not 
enough room in the trunks and all this with a 
hangover and not enough sleep and the lousy feel- 
ing that had persisted all week since Dick Alpert 
told me about marijuana. 

Lola was still keeping out of sight and when I 
did intersect her in the dining room, she looked at 
me with distrust and narrowed her eyes as though I 
were dangerous somehow. 

When the last suitcase was locked, my son made 
the inevitable discovery that a toy had been left 
out. It was a plastic machine gun that shot corks. 
He and Pepe had been ambushing enemy all sum- 
mer with their guns. It was large and bulky and 
impossible to pack. Then an image of Lola in the 
final scene occurred to me. Look, Jack, I want you 
to leave the gun here, okay? All right, but why? 
Pepe already has one. Never mind. Watch and 
you'll see. 

When I took the last suitcase out to the car, I was 
carrying the gun. I laid it carefully on the driver's 
seat. Then I gave Lola two hundred and fifty pesos 
and we said good-bye and promised to write and 
we moved out to the sidewalk. Dick Alpert and 
Jack were in the car. I called Jack out and handed 
him the machine gun. Jack, give this to Lola and 
say this is for her. You see, it was my wish to drive 
off waving to Lola and to have her standing by the 
gate with the gun in her hand. Victorious defender. 

48 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

From The Reporter: 

When the International Fed- 
eration for Internal Free- 
dom was formed in Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts, dur- 
ing the autumn of 1962, it 
was unique even in New 
England, a region not un- 
familiar with eccentric so- 
cial movements. 

IFIF (pronounced "if-if," as 
if the speaker is stuttering 
over some terrifying cosmic 

I stood behind the car and watched Jack come 
up to Lola and make his speech and watched her 
take the gun and look surprised and then laugh. 
She seemed to understand and she seemed pleased. 
She called something to me. I be back soon, I said. 
She was nodding and smiling when the gun went 
off. Her face froze as she saw the cork bounce off 
my chest. Her eyes dropped down to the trigger 
still held taut by her finger. Then when she saw me 
laughing, she lifted the gun in front of her face as 
though it were an apron to hide behind and she 
began to giggle. 

We were all grinning like pleased idiots as I got 
back in the car and made the U-turn. And as we 
rolled off and waved adios, I was laughing and she 
was standing with the gun in her right hand. 

IFIF preaches the gospel 
that man's salvation lies in 
the expansion of his own 
consciousness, a state 
which, it is asserted, can 
be achieved through the in- 
gestion of such substances 
as LSD-25, psilocybin, mes- 
caline or even the right 
type of morning-glory seeds. 

Although a handful of well- 
known people most of the 
philosophers, mystics, and 
theologians have lent IFIF 
support of their names, sci- 
entific circles have in gen- 
eral been quite critical of 
many of its expressed be- 
liefs and goals. 

The support of the theolo- 
gians and mystics, in com- 
bination with the fact that 
IFIF's cause was unwit- 
tingly nurtured within Har- 
vard University, has com- 
posed the movement's prin- 
cipal credentials. 

Hence the image of many clouds, promising mois- 
ture and blessing to the land, although as yet no 
rain falls. The situation is not unfavorable; there is 
a prospect of ultimate success, but there are still 
obstacles in the way, and we can merely take 
preparatory measures. Only through the small 
means of friendly persuasion can we exert any 
influence. The time has not yet come for sweeping 
measures. However, we may be able, to a limited 
extent, to act as a restraining and subduing influ- 
ence. To carry out our purpose we need firm deter- 
mination within and gentleness and adaptability in 
external relations. ( Wind over Heaven ) 

Next morning, I had trouble giving my car to the 
government, and it was mid-afternoon by the time I 
got to the airport. Dick went up to meteorology to 
see if we could beat the evening thunderstorm out 
of the valley, and my son collected a crowd around 
him and his iguana in the airport lobby. Dick came 
down, saying we had fifteen minutes of clear 
weather and Acapulco was blue and clean, so we 
rushed down to the Cessna and we stuck the 
iguana on the shelf behind the rear seat and we 
kissed Betty good-bye, and Dick ran up the engine 
and we turned the corner onto the main runway 
and rolled down the wide concrete highway and 
faster and faster and lifted up over the brown 

September 1960 00 49 

swamp flats and when the tower said okay, we left 
the frequency and flight pattern of the field and 
turned right and began climbing to make the height 
of the Tres Marias and when we didn't make it at 
the first run, we circled to gain altitude, looking 
down at the dozens of round, green-hollow-coned 
volcanoes scattered over the valley of Mexico and 
finally squeezed over the pass at 14,000 feet and in 
a half-hour dropped down over Tepoztlan and ran 
the length of the valley twice, buzzing the McClel- 
lands' ranch and dipping the wings when they 
came running out to wave and turned towards 
Cuernavaca and circled the villa and saw Lola and 
Pepe standing by the swimming pool (now quite 
full, thank you) and were surprised to see how 
many jet blue albercas were set alongside of how 
many lush villas in this rich little town that Her- 
nando thought he conquered. 

We are high 

In the sky 


Down there 

There's a fog on U.S.A. 

And my friends have frost their way 

We'll be up there soon they said 

But they've ground themselves instead 

Please don't be down 

For many initiates, the cre- 
dentials have been suf- 

IFIF offers by its very exis- 
tence, a certain amount of 
justification and rationale 
to those who submit to the 
dangerous attraction drug- 
taking holds for college stu- 
dents and young people in 

"Drugs have always at- 
tracted college students," I 
was told recently by Dr. 
Dana L. Farnsworth, Direc- 
tor of the Harvard Univer- 
sity Health Services. 

"But this is the first time in 
history that an organization 
has existed to promote their 

After we passed Lake Tequesquetengo, Dick be- 
gan to teach me how to fly and I began learning 
about the two new dimensions and, not knowing 
how to trim the plane, fighting the sliding of the 
horizon, while Dick bent over the map and drew 
red lines and made calculations. 

It was all pretty mushroomy, sitting up there a 
mile high, beating our own path where no one else 
had ever been, beyond games, in touch with only 
the living moment. Should we climb those clouds or 
sidestep them through that gap to the north? In 
touch with only this immediate reality is Acapulco 
there or there? Realizing ( as we fail to realize down 
below, although it is as true down below) that we 
are a moment away from death and not caring for 
even that abstraction, death, because it's not a word 

Caught unprepared by the 
utilization of a variety of 
hallucinogenic drugs in 
many areas of the U.S., law- 
enforcement officials and 
health authorities do not 
appear at present to pos- 
sess the means of coping 
with the problem. 

They are hampered by a 
net of vague, ineffectual 
and contradictory legal 

50 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

Meanwhile, in IFIF's four- 
room ground-floor head- 
quarters at 14 Storey Street, 
Cambridge, a varying num- 
ber of blue-jeaned young 
people perform the clerical 
chores of a growing or- 

They work to spread its 
chapters and outposts 
through the country and the 
world, and push an ag- 
gressive, promotional drive 
that has all the earmarks of 
a proselytizing campaign. 


From LSD by Alpert, Cohen, 
and Schiller: 

It is hard to imagine the 
fantastic growth of LSD use 
in the United States since 

I believe approximately four 
million Americans took LSD 
last year, judging from con- 
versation with suppliers. 

Perhaps as many as 70 per- 
cent of all users now are 
high school and college 
students. . . . 


or a concept but a right-now decision about this 
peak, that cloud, this push on the rudder which 
turns us towards Acapulco airport or the mountain 

We were flying at no miles per hour, with the 
jagged cotton fields ten feet below stretched out as 
far as we could see. The world was completely shut 
off. Somewhere down below were the mountains of 
Guerrero and Acapulco Bay and the Pacific. But we 
were above and out of it, skudding along the mile- 
high, white-capped ocean. 

Dick was leaning forward studying the horizon 
and sweeping his eyes down and over the instru- 
ments and then back to the front. He turned to 
brief me. Here's the situation. We're okay up here. 
We're high enough to miss this stuff (he was 
pointing to the orange peaks on the map) but 
sooner or later we'll have to land and that means 
diving down blind through this white crud. 

We can't turn back? No, that's no good. Mexico 
City is already socked in tight. And, if we tried to 
chance it north or south, there's no guarantee that 
the clouds will break, at 5:45 the acapulco tower 


What we'll have to do is keep flying high and wide 
until we get well beyond the coast, out over the 
ocean, and then we plough down through the 
clouds until we hit the clear above the ocean and 
then we'll have to turn back and run the coast until 
we find Acapulco. All we have to do is be sure we 
fly far enough to miss the coastal range and hope 
there's enough ceiling over the Pacific, rut the 


poor transmission. I'll see if I can get Acapulco 
tower for a reading on their ceiling. 

Dick fiddled with the radio dial with his left 
hand and then he took the black plastic mouthpiece 
in his right hand. Acapulco, this is Cessna four-six 
Bravo. Do you hear me? repeated attempts to 


waited, listening to the engine hum and the rush of 
air past the cabin windows. Acapulco tower. This is 
Cessna four-six Bravo. Come in Acapulco. No an- 
swer. Maybe they don't catch the English. You call 
them in Spanish. Just push the knob here and talk. 

September 1960 00 51 


The mouthpiece was cool and the black wire 
curled away and down below the instrument panel. 
I looked back at Jack strapped in the rear seat. His 
eyes were big and calm-serious, a farmer checking 


wreckage of the missing Cessna. I cleared my 
voice. Acapulco. Somos Cessna cuatro-seis Bravo. 
Acapulco, Cessna cuatro-seis Bravo hablando. No 

Dick made a disgusted noise. Maybe they're on a 
different frequency. Or maybe they're out to sup- 
per. Or maybe they don't have an operator. 

So what do we do now? 

Dick motioned with his hand for me to take the 
wheel. Here, you take over. I'll try to figure out 
where we are and when we should hit the coast. 
Keep the compass on 270 and for God's sake keep 
the altitude where it is and just fly her straight. 


And I was all of a sudden sitting there a mile 
high in the sky with three people and an iguana 
and several suitcases and a ton-heavy plane holding 
the whole business up with just my two hands 
glued to the co-pilot stick. It was obvious that my 
hands clutched to the wheel wouldn't hold up the 
plane and its load, it cut through the trees for a 


rest. I held on tight squeezing the metal circle in 
my hands afraid to move my feet on the rudder or 
relax my grip because then we'd drop like a stone in 
a mile-deep well. I could feel drops of sweat rolling 
down from my armpits. The gray snowdrifts ahead 
seemed to be rushing at us. I squeezed the wheel 
harder, it could not re determined whether or 


prior to take off. Panic. Control. Frozen panic. 
My mind hung up rigid. Panic. 

Hey. You're losing altitude. Pull her back. I sat 
not moving except to pivot my head to look at Dick. 


From Psychedelic Prayers: 

What one values in the 

is the play 


What one values in the 

is the moment of 



What one values in the 

is the moment of 



What one values in the 

is the beat 


What one values in the 

is the timing 



because you flow like 


you can neither win 

nor lose 


52 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

From Time: 

An epidemic of "acid 
heads" the disease is 
striking in beachside beat- 
nik pads and in the dormi- 
tories of expensive prep 

It has grown into an alarm- 
ing problem at U.C.L.A. and 
on the U.C. campus at 

And everywhere the diagno- 
sis is the same: psychotic 
illness resulting from un- 
authorized, nonmedical use 
of the drug LSD-25. 

Patients with post-LSD 
symptoms are providing the 
U.C.L.A. neuropsychiatric 
institute with 10% to 15% 
of its cases: more are flock- 
ing to the university's gen- 
eral medical center and the 
county general hospital. 

By best estimates, 10,000 
students in the University 
of California system have 
tried LSD (though not all 
have suffered detectable ill 

No one can even guess how 
many more selfstyled "acid 
heads" there are among 
oddball cult groups. 

He had a puzzled look and moved his fingers 
lightly to his stick and nudged it gently back. The 
nose of the plane rose and I saw the indicator level 
off. Dick was grinning at me. Keep us up there, old 
man. ceilings were expected to be 8oo to 1200 


The confident smile of the experienced guide 
broke the spell. I let off squeezing the stick and 
pulled it up towards me and felt the rushing air 
pushing under the plane, solidly holding it up there 
a mile high, and pushed the rudder left foot and 
saw the needle swing slowly back to 270, and I and 
the plane were flying along just so smooth up there 
above the white caps and I began to grin and to 
feel with it. High, it was decided that there the 


msl. I turned my head around and squeezed Jack's 
leg and grinned at him and thought about how 
great and brave he was and how I loved him and I 
looked over at Dick bending over the charts and 
thought about how lucky it was that I trusted him 
and how he trusted me and that was it, the good- 
ness of the moment, the three of us together, and 
this was the way it always should be on the trip, it 


No worry. No worry about getting down or 
coming back to the ground. Dick was wise and 
skilled and trustworthy. You couldn't ask for better 
there, which precluded the possibility of the 


too late. And son Jack back there with his blue 
shorts and his sunburned legs and his tousled hair 
and his always dirty face smiling back at me and 
not worried, trusting me, and I was thinking that 
life is really no different anywhere in air or down 
there. Aren't we always just a breath away from 
death, and all that counts up here or down there is 
to be with people you love and trust and not caring 
about the future, or the past, gone and done and 
less meaning than that air pocket we bounced over 
a mile there a minute back. 

We should be over Acapulco right about now, 
said Dick. His head was still turned down to the 
charts. Then he looked up and said, Hey. Hey, look 

54 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

'Florid & terrifying." 

Southern California dev- 
otees proclaim the alleged 
benefits of LSD with evan- 
gelistic fervor. They say it 
brings supernatural powers. 

It does not, say 


Some say it is an aphrodis- 
iac. It is not. 

They say it helps the user 
to solve his emotional prob- 

It may but only if the solu- 
tion is already in the mind, 
hidden behind an emotional 

What LSD actually has done 
for far too many users, says 
U.C.L.A. 's psychiatric resi- 
dent Duke D. Fisher, is 
to produce "florid psycho- 
ses with terrifying visual 
and auditory hallucinations, 
marked depression, often 
with serious suicide at- 
tempts and anxiety border- 
ing on panic." 

One patient tried to kill him- 
self when he thought his 
body was melting, and he 
remained suicidal for more 
than two weeks, after only 
one dose of LSD. 

at this. He was pointing over there to the left to a 
hole, a tiny hole in the gray clouds, a peep hole, a 
rent in the cotton fabric and through it glistening 
the blue water, the ocean. 

Let me take her down, that hole is closing fast. 
He swung the stick over and rolled the plane dizzy- 
ingly on its side and we began to fall sideways, 
stomach gasping, ears hurting, and by now the hole 
in the clouds was smaller than our wingspread but 
we needled through it, falling sideways, left cheek 
pointing to the lovely gray- green endless rippling 
world of water below. 

The next problem is to find land and then run up 
the coast to Acapulco. Dick was banking sharply to 
the right and as we turned the long corner and 
leveled off, there were the high cliffs on one side 
with the hotels stuck on top and there way over to 
the right was the high promontory rolling to the 
sea, with the villas and hotels nailed to the slopes, 
and we were slicing a line right smack down the 
middle of Acapulco Bay. We had hit it blindly right 
on the center. 

The wind can indeed drive the clouds together in 
the sky; yet, being nothing but air, without solid 
body, it does not produce great or lasting effects. 
So also an individual, in times when he can pro- 
duce no great effect in the outer world, can do 
nothing except refine the expression of his nature 
in small ways. ( I Ching IX ) 

We had breakfast next morning on the open 
terrace of Caleta looking down at the morning 
beach and the red surfboards bobbing on the blue 
bay and over to Roqueta, the island, palmy and 
green. Then Jack sprang again the question he had 
been springing all summer and never answered 
how about skin diving? It was now or never be- 
cause we were flying north at summer's end. Dick 
pulled out a map and checked the mileage and we 
counted up the flying hours on our fingers and Dick 
looked at Jack's hopeful eyes and said, sure, we can 
afford an hour or two for something important like 
skin diving and Jack began to grin. 

I rented a set for Jack and me and we walked 
with Jose the instructor down to the beach, all of 
us in swimming trunks and Jack carrying the heavy 

September 1960 00 55 

air tank. I was to dive first for a half-hour while 
Jack watched and then he was to take over. I stood 
knee-deep in the warm surf and Jose lifted the tank 
on my back and began strapping me in while I 
braced my legs against the weight. The belt of 
round lead slugs got tied around my waist and the 
rubber mask over my eyes and Jose showed me how 
to clear the mask of water by tilting the corner and 
blowing and he stuck the rubber tube end in my 
mouth and I felt the cold surgical taste of oxygen 
and heard the hiss hiss of the air rush and a cast- 
iron mechanical duck waddled with finned feet out 
beyond the breakers and Jose's brown arms mo- 
tioned down and I took a deep gulp of the cool 
rubbery air in the mouthpiece and pushed down 
under the surface. 

Down to no place. I didn't sink and I didn't rise, 
just stayed there suspended a foot or so under 
water getting used to breathing through a tube and 
fighting the panic, the panic bred of the lifelong 
habit of rising to the surface to breathe. Jose was 
right there by me and I watched the bubbles up 
around his face and looked inside his mask at the 
black eyes glaring out and saw his hands motioning 
down and his sleek brown legs pumping and him 
slicing down fishy deeper, hands and feet finning 
him along. He stopped and turned and made wavy 
gill motions and I got the point and pushed clumsy 
with my hands up and kicked and started dropping 
down and there was the bottom, sandy and clear, 
every brown grain in sharp focus and the bottom 
creatures, tawny purple shells and spiny quilled 
animals breathing softly, and clean rocks. 

We were swimming along together slowly, two 
giant humpbacked fish nosing across this new bot- 
tom world. Jose turned and put his thumb and fore- 
finger together to ask okay and I made the same 
sign, sure okay and I saw his eyes inside the mask 
smiling at me and right there at that moment 
everything became okay, exultant new world vision, 
a new thrilly freedom 



in the blue glass 
light world. 

Other patients have re- 
quired more than two 
months of psychiatric hos- 

Still others have been sent 
to state hospitals for long- 
term treatment. 

Adds U.C.L.A. psychiatrist 
J. Thomas Ungerleider: 
"The symptoms may recur 
in their original intensity 
long after the last dose of 
the drug. 

Many users have had this 

The varied types of LSD 
users include vast numbers 
of thrill seekers. 

Most have tried marijuana, 
then the amphetamines, be- 
fore "graduating" them- 
selves to what they regard 
as the ultimate in kicks. 

In the rebellious student 
groups like those at Berke- 
ley many are trying LSD be- 
cause they feel lost on 
an impersonal, bustling 

Others have been squeezed 
by the need to make better 
grades to avoid the draft. 

One of the most disturbing 
aspects of the LSD binge 
is that it has hit high 
schools and prep schools. 


56 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

From the Associated Press: 

LSD-25 and similar drugs 
that drastically alter sen- 
sory perception have the 
power to permanently crip- 
ple the mind, an editorial in 
the Sept. 14 Journal of the 
American Medical Associa- 
tion warned today. 

From Cosmopolitan: 

So serious do physicians 
and psychiatrists view the 
fad for this drug that Dr. 
Roy Grinker, chief editor of 
the AMA's Archives of Gen- 
eral Psychiatry, recently 
wrote an editorial in his 
publication warning that the 
drug could be fatal if used 


Weightless, fin-driven 

Free from earth 

Free from air 

For the first time free from 

Gravity grasp 

Dirt free, talk free 

Path, road, and sidewalk free 


To slide through trackless sea space 

Thinking of the world above 

Did it ever? 

Do they really walk around up there? 
Bodies draped in cloth 
Feet in leather boxes 
Fixed, dimension flat paths 
Through dust and spit and dung 
And cigarette butts 
Through cooking smells 
Exhaust fumes 

and that many psychiatrists 
had become so enamored 
with its "mystical, halluci- 
natory state" that they were 
"disqualified as competent 

He further complained the 
drug was being imprudently 
publicized and endorsed by 
"movie actors and televi- 
sion artists." 

Through noise 

Horn, screech, fart, squeal, cough, clash 

And talk clatter? 

Here clear water still 

Sliding silence of the deep deaf 

Only hiss hiss of tube 

Spilling upward, bouncing, bubbly 


Down there it's not a wet world 
Wet is land talk. 

This last crack was a direct 
slap at Hollywood, where 
LSD received its first major 
burst of publicity, and 
where some of its most de- 
voted rooters live. 

Actually, Hollywood was 
buzzing over LSD as far 
back as 1959. 

Down there it's not a worry world 
Worry is land think. 

no job 

no worry 

no money 

no hurry 

no past 

no future 

no think talk walk 

no hating 

no waiting 

September 1960 00 57 

no striving 
no reading writing 

So new 
My teeth were clenched hard on the rubber 
mouthpiece . . . jaw muscles taut and hurting 
. . . snap . . . molars clank together . . . mouth- 
piece bit through . . . can't hold tight in mouth 
. . . water seeping in mask . . . did he say swal- 
low or blow out . . . vision blurry from water in 
mask ... hiss hiss of air . . . keep cool . . . 
ten feet under . . . 100- 
. . 100-pound leads on belt 
. trouble holding shredded 
. fear fear panic fear 
weighted down with 

what's situation . 
pound tank on back . . 
. . . water in mask . . 
mouthpiece with teeth 
. . . can I go back? 

metal . . . trapped . . . can I get back . . . want 
to get back . . . want my dirty world back . . . 
maybe trapped . . . want go back . . . now! 

I squatted down with my feet on the sandy 
bottom and pushed up, uncoiling torpedoing up, 
whoosh, breaking up through surface with splash, 
ripping off mouthpiece, mask, gulping free air 
blinking at sunlight. Splash beside me, Jose, face 
amused, worried, back on the worry dimension. 
Con calma. Con calma, hombre. I was breaststrok- 
ing, lunging towards shore, wounded walrus, white 
air tube dangling on side. Jose holding me with one 
arm, holding my mask with his other hand. 

Standing in waist-high surf, gasping for breath, 
shoulders heaving, heart pounding, shaking off 
water and fear. Not listening to Jose's voice sooth- 
ing, advising. I was thinking about the rapture of 
the sea deep and the far-out visions and the clean 
unity, and of the sudden panic coming, the fear 
that you can't go back, back to the world you love 
to leave, and thinking of the fear of mushroom rap- 
ture. Will I ever get back? Panic. Loss of control. 

I had had my daily ration of expanded con- 
sciousness and was glad to feel dry sand underfoot. 
Jack was eager to take over the diving. He stood 
casual, almost bored, while Jose and I strapped him 
in the metal uniform. He didn't seem to be listening 

It began when two Los 
Angeles doctors published 
the results of an experi- 
mental therapy program 
they had conducted with 
110 patients 

including Cary Grant, his 
wife Betsy Drake and sev- 
eral more Hollywood actors, 
publicists, and writers. The 
reaction to the paper was 

Joe Hyams, Hollywood cor- 
respondent for the New 
York Herald Tribune, who 
did one of the first inter- 
views with Cary Grant 
about LSD therapy, told me 
recently, "After my series 
came out, the phone began 
to ring wildly. Psychiatrists 
called, complaining their 
patients were now begging 
them for LSD. Every actor 
in town under analysis 
wanted it. In all, I got close 
to eight hundred letters." 

Cary Grant today is still 
eager to offer this testi- 
mony to the efficacy of the 
drug: "If I drop dead 
within the next ten years, 
I will have enjoyed more 
living in the latter part of 
my life than most people 
ever know." 

When I asked Grant if he 
thought his association with 
the drug had helped or 
hindered its development, 
he said brusquely, "A Holly- 
wood name might have cre- 
ated some resistance, but 
many people will seek any 
reason to oppose a new 
idea, you know." 

58 00 The Revelation Is Awe-Full 

More and more of the Cali- 
fornia intelligentsia began 
to push the drug. 

From his houseboat in 
Sausalito, philosopher Alan 
Watts spoke of a society 
where LSD pills would be 
taken two or three times a 
year, like aspirin, to relieve 
temporary emotional head- 

Aldous Huxley wrote glow- 
ingly of his mystical LSD 

Poet Allen Ginsberg urged 
that the drug be given to 
Khrushchev and Kennedy 
in the interests of world 


to my words of advice and when Jose nodded to 
him he pulled on the mask and stuck in the mouth- 
piece and waded out knee-, waist-, shoulder-high 
and sank out of sight. I stood on the shore watching 
the two lines of bubbles moving out into the bay. 
Jack was gone, dropped down and out of the world 
and I was standing there, scared, worried, stuck on 
the sandy shelf of mind but Jack was gone beyond 
it all. 

Four Mexican kids had followed the divers' trail 
across the bay. They had goggles but no tank and 
kept bobbing under for a breath-length to watch 
the underwater action. I called one of them back to 
shore and asked him how it was going with el niho. 
White teeth grin. He had seen my panic. Perfecto, 

I walked over to the beach-bar and ordered a 
planters punch and sat the half -hour out watching 
the bubbles and the boys moving around the bay 
out beyond the fishing boats and then circling back, 
and finally Jack's black head bobbed up and he 
scoffed through the shallow water bent over a little 
from the heavy tank still looking bored but also 
cocky proud. The natural, non-conceptual confi- 
dence of the young. The psychedelic generation. 

We walked back to the diving shop and Jose 
started making out the bill. The owner asked him in 
Spanish how it had gone and Jose grinned and said 
muy bien. El hijo es mucho mas mejor que el 
padre. Jack looked at me and I winked and he 
creased his face in a big grin and that was the 
diving trip. 


Has success. 

Dense clouds, no rain from our 
western region. 



I I 


The Sacrament Solves No Problems: 





Guide: aldous huxley ><; 

Oracle: XXXVI 
Darkening of the light 

October 1960 

The Receptive, Earth 

The Clinging, Fire 

The light has sunk into the earth: 

The image of darkening of the light. 

Thus does the superior man live with the great 

He veils his light, yet still shines. 




Witnesseth that for and in 
consideration of the pay- 
ment of the rents and the 
performance of the cove- 

said parties of the first part 
do hereby lease, demise 
and let unto the said parties 
of the second part 

that certain three-story 
dwelling house and appur- 
tenance?*. . . . 


From The Saturday Evening 

Leary returned to Harvard 
longing to journey still fur- 
ther beyond his mind and 
his ardor infected Alpert, 
another clinical psycholo- 
gist and McClelland pro- 


We got back to the East Coast early September and 
located in Newton Center. The house was big. A 
three-story baronial mansion on a hill with trees 
and lawns and a three-car garage and a garden 
house and 185 stone steps leading up to the front 
door. Inside it were books and woodwork and thick 
rugs and metal-work lamps and a wide staircase 
winding up from the entrance hall. 

Took a couple of days to get settled. And on the 
third day I drove down to Newton Corner and 
crossed to Charlesbank Road and along the curving 
river towards Cambridge. At this point the Charles 
is a wide, slow stream. On the other side a Norman 
tower sticks up from the trees, and down aways the 
bridge on the Watertown Road loops across in 
three arches, simple and clean like Ponte Santa 
Trinita, reflected in the water below. 

After a while the river swings to the left towards 
Cambridge and then back again in a grand slow 
sweep, and there on the right is Soldier's Field and 
beyond it the roofs of the Harvard Business School, 
very European (Copenhagen, mostly), with dozens 
of little chimneys sticking up, and over to the left 
the three shiny colored domes red, green, blue 
and the Harvard brick. All clear like color slides. I 
was glad to be back and glad that it all looked so 
fresh and sharp. Even the traffic lights seemed to 
glisten, gem flashes, red and green. The fact that 
they told you Stop and Go was incidental to what 
they told you about color and light. I was still 
turned on. 

My office was in the Center for Personality Re- 
search, Harvard University. The house was named 
after Morton Prince, one of the first American psy- 
chologists to recognize alterations in consciousness 
as a critical area for study. In the days when psy- 
chologists were gentlemen scholars, he published 

October 1960 00 61 

classic works on unconscious states, coconscious 
states, the varieties of awareness consequences, and 
was the founder of the Center for Personality Re- 
search at Harvard. Today he would be considered a 
far-out scholar with his curious and bold interests 
in multiple personality, hypnosis, trances, and 
visions. It was somehow most natural and proper 
that we would be initiating studies into altered 
states of consciousness in Morton Prince House. 

The precedent for our psychedelic research did 
not begin with Morton Prince, however, but traced 
back to the turn of the century, to that most 
venerable and greatest of American psychologists, 
William James, who had mystic experiences using 
nitrous oxide and saw God and scandalized people 
by running drug parties in Boston's stuffy Back 

After Morton Prince and William James, the 
genealogical line of consciousness expansion re- 
search at Harvard was continued by another giant 
in the history of psychology: Harry A. Murray and 
his visionary scene of green shirts, white whales, 
Freud- Jung-Melville. 

When Harry Murray retired and moved his office 
to a house next door and nailed his whale emblem 
over the threshold, a new director came into the 
Center. David C. McClelland is a non-visionary 
Quaker, a Protestant-ethic man, intelligent, tall, 
puritan, dedicated to external achievement. 

Professor McClelland had visited the villa in 
Cuernavaca the week after I took the magic mush- 
rooms, and was shocked and grumpy when I told 
him about my trip. He was the first person I had 
wanted to try the mushrooms, and his instinctive 
withdrawal jolted me. 

The Quakers were founded by a flipped-out 
hallucinating visionary named George Fox, who 
turned-on and dropped-out and spent six years in 
prison for passing on the same message I got from 
the Aztec plant. I couldn't understand then why 
any psychologist, especially a member of a mystic 
sect like the Quakers, wouldn't rush to have the 

When I opened the front door of Harvard's 
Center for Personality Research, there in the library 

From The Varieties of Reli- 
gious Experience by Wil- 
liam James: 

Our normal waking con- 
sciousness parted from the 
filmiest of screens, there 
lie potential forms of con- 
sciousness entirely differ- 

No account of the universe 
in its totality can be final 
which leaves these other 
forms of consciousness 
quite disregarded. 

62 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 

How to regard them is the 
question for they are so 
discontinuous with ordinary 

Looking back on my own 
(drug) experiences, they all 
converge towards a kind of 
insight to which I cannot 
help ascribing some meta- 
physical significance. 

were two bright graduate students, George and 
Mike. They came to my office and began telling me 
right away about their summer research and then I 
began telling them about the mushrooms. This was 
nothing new to them. George had spent several 
months running mescaline experiments the year 
before and used to drop into my office to tell me 
about the visions and insights and perceptual fire- 
works. I used to listen politely but not caring. I had 
no concepts, no mental hooks on which to hang his 
words, and no intuitive electricity to get turned-on. 
Like every educated savage, I automatically dis- 
credited anything that I didn't understand. 

Now it was different. The visionary flash had 
come and George had seen and felt it too and we 
leaned forward talking fast and drugging each 
other with vision talk. Mike was swept into the 
spell too. He had been wanting George to give him 
mescaline for several months but they never got 
around to it. He was eager to start. What a great 
research tool! 

The word research stopped me. Psychiatric sci- 
ence. Good God, here we go again. Using drugs to 
do something to somebody else. Drug them. Then 
test the changes. Measuring the impact of chemi- 
cals on the mind. It was this sort of manipulatory 
business that had repelled me from experimental 
drug research in the past. 

Those who have ears to 
hear, let them hear: To me 
the living sense of its reality 
only comes in the artificial 
mystic state of mind. 


A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. It may 
slip off treacherously, but its keeper never aban- 
dons it. At most he plays with the idea of handing it 
on to someone else's care and that only at an early 
stage, when it first begins to grip. But as far as I 
know, Bilbo alone in history has ever gone beyond 
playing, and really done it. He needed all my help, 
too. And even so he would never have just forsaken 
it, or cast it aside. It was not Gollum, Frodo, but 
the Ring itself that decided things. The Ring 
left him. ( The Lord of the Rings ) 

For thousands of years men have used any 
chemicals they could get their hands on to change 
consciousness and for fifty years psychologists have 
been developing methods including probing peo- 

October 1960 00 63 

pie's minds, getting behind the screens and pro- 
tections which we all maintain. What does the 
patient really think? What does he really feel? 
Psychoanalysis, the study of dreams. Slips of the 
tongue. Tests of fantasy expression in which the 
subject unwittingly gives away his secret inclina- 
tions. It was natural that men would use mescaline 
and LSD to get high and it was also natural that 
psychologists would see mescaline and LSD as new 
manipulatory instruments for cutting through de- 
fenses and exposing inner feelings. New ways of 
knocking out the social man and laying bare the 
sick, evil man within. 

To interpret the visionary experience laymen use 
the language of ecstasy, and psychiatrists use the 
language which is familiar and natural to them 
the dialect of diagnosis. Now the curious thing 
about psychiatric language is that it's almost com- 
pletely negative, a pompous, gloomy lexicon of 
troubles, symptoms, abnormalities, eccentricities. 

To read through the psychiatric literature is to 
descend into the modern Freudian Inferno prim, 
prudish catalogue of anguish and conflict. 

The psychiatric trip is worried and nervous. 
Revelation is a dirty word. When they observe 
mystical reactions to the southern vegetables, psy- 
chiatrists employ the labels of pathology. Peyote 
and mescaline and LSD produce thoughts and 
behavior which are not conventionally normal. 
These events are called abnormal. Very unconven- 
tional. Therefore very abnormal! Psychotic! 

The psychiatrists are hung up on psychosis, 
whatever that is. And so the new consciousness- 
expanding substances in i960 were classed as 
psychotomimetic. Psychiatrists thought that LSD 
causes normal people to act like psychotics! And 
glorious mescaline too! And the mushroom! 

So when I heard Mike asking me about research 
plans for the mushrooms, my first reaction was, oh, 
no, baby! No! No! No! No selecting of subjects. No 
testing them before and after. No explaining away 
the mushroom effect in terms of my favorite vari- 
ables or your favorite variables. No chemical pro- 
cedures ripping away people's protections and 
watching them deal with the sudden confrontation 

Psychiatric Report: 

The volunteers selected 
were told only that they 
might receive a substance 
which would produce tem- 
porary changes in percep- 
tion and bodily feelings or 
an inert substance. 

A baseline EEG, mental 
status and checklist of 
symptoms was completed 
before the drug was ad- 

64 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 

Results in visual hallucina- 
tions, illusions, a form of 
hyperacusis, body image 
distortions, . . . 

. . . euphoria, anxiety, de- 
pression, flight of ideas, 
clang associations, inabil- 
ity to abstract. 

A subject in response to 
the proverb, people in glass 
houses shouldn't throw 
stones, said before the 

of the real-reality. And then calling them diagnostic 
names. Like psychotic. No sir. 

Well, Mike, it depends what you mean by re- 
search. Td love to take the mushrooms again. And 
I'd like to give them to my friends and have them 
see what I saw. In fact I'd be glad to spend the rest 
of my life teaching people how to use them. And 
I'd like everyone who takes the mushrooms to write 
down afterwards what he saw and felt and visioned 
and how the whole scene affected his life. 

George and Mike were listening and nodding 
and swinging along with this and began to throw in 
ideas. Why not start a research like this. There 
would be no scientists vs. people-studied in our 
research. Everyone would take turns taking the 
mushrooms and observing and keeping careful rec- 
ords of how we change and what we experience. 
And we'd all meet together to plan the sessions and 
there would be no withholding of information or 
results, it would all be out on the table for everyone 
to know. No calling people names. No diagnosing. 
And we would try to get a variety of people in- 
volved in the group. Not just psychologists and 
behavioral scientists but writers and poets and 
housewives and cab drivers. 

I was particularly pleased with the collaborative, 
no-leader aspect of the plan. I wanted to avoid 
selecting the members of the mushroom research 
group. I told George and Mike that they knew 
more people around the university and the town of 
Cambridge than I did and that they should do the 
selecting of collaborators to take the mushrooms 
with us. George and Mike said sure and began talk- 
ing together excitedly throwing names back and 
forth. Plenty of spirit around. 

Then George began to talk about the literature 
on visionary states and asked me if I had read 
Aldous Huxley's books on mescaline, Doors to Per- 
ception and Heaven and Hell, and when I said I 
hadn't he rushed down the hall to his office and 
brought them back. Small, thin rectangles. I stuck 
them in my jacket pockets. 

The final issue was the big one. Where would we 
get the mushrooms? Someone had told me that the 
Public Health Service had succeeded in synthe- 

October 1960 00 65 

sizing the mushrooms and I said I'd write to Wash- 
ington and try to check on that lead. Gerhart back 
in Mexico had told me that he'd continue the search 
for Juana the witch and if he found her he'd get a 
large supply and send some up to me. And Frank 
Barron back in Berkeley had told me that the 
people at the University of Mexico had cultivated 
mushrooms and maybe we could get some from 

That night I read Huxley. And then I read those 
two books again. And again. It was all there. All my 
vision. And more too. Huxley had taken mescaline 
in a garden and shucked off the mind and 
awakened to eternity. 

You shouldn't point out 
faults in others that might 
exist in yourself. After the 
drug he said, At who? That 
depends on a lot of things. 

About a week later someone at a party told me 
that Aldous Huxley was spending the fall in town 
and that sounded like a good omen, so I sat down 
and wrote him a letter. 

Two days later, during one of our planning con- 
ferences, Mr. Huxley telephoned to say he was 
interested and lunch was arranged. 

Aldous Huxley was staying in a new M.I.T. 
apartment overlooking the Charles River. He an- 
swered the bell tall, pale, frail joined me, and 
we drove to the Harvard Faculty Club. He read the 
menu slowly through his magnifying glass. I asked 
him if he wanted soup and he asked what kind and 
I looked at the menu and it was mushroom soup so 
we laughed and we had mushrooms for lunch. 

Aldous Huxley: stooped, towering, gray Buddha. 
A wise and good man. Head like a multi-lingual 
encyclopedia. Voice elegant and chuckling except 
when the pitch rose in momentary amused indig- 
nation about over-population or the pomposity of 

We talked about how to study and use the 
consciousness-expanding drugs and we clicked 
along agreeably on the do's and the not-to-do's. We 
would avoid the behaviorist approach to others' 
awareness. Avoid labeling or depersonalizing the 
subject. We should not impose our own jargon or 
our own experimental games on others. We were 
not out to discover new laws, which is to say, to 
discover the redundant implications of our own 

Autonomic responses, pu- 
pillary dilation, nausea, diz- 
ziness, flushing, abdominal 
complaints, blood pressure, 
and pulse. . . . 

Psilocybin, LSD, and mes- 
caline are extremely potent 
agents capable of produc- 
ing acute psychotic be- 
havior in many individuals. 

66 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 

Depression with the ever 
present risk of suicide may 
develop during or after 
their administration. 

The use of hallucinogens 
should be restricted to re- 
search in a hospital setting. 


Donald Louria, M.D.: 

Gram for gram, ingestion 
for ingestion, LSD is far 
more dangerous than her- 


premises. We were not to be limited by the patho- 
logical point of view. We were not to interpret 
ecstasy as mania, or calm serenity as catatonia; we 
were not to diagnose Buddha as a detached 
schizoid; nor Christ as an exhibitionistic masochist; 
nor the mystic experience as a symptom; nor the 
visionary state as a model psychosis. Aldous Huxley 
chuckling away with compassionate humor at hu- 
man folly. 

And with such erudition! Moving back and forth 
in history, quoting the mystics. Wordsworth. Ploti- 
nus. The Areopagite. William James. Ranging from 
the esoteric past, back to the biochemical present: 
Humphrey Osmond curing alcoholics in Saskatche- 
wan with LSD; Keith Ditman's plans to clean out 
Skid Row in Los Angeles with LSD; Roger Heim 
taking his bag of Mexican mushrooms to the Pari- 
sian chemists who couldn't isolate the active ingre- 
dient, and then going to Albert Hoffman the great 
Swiss, who did it and called it psilocybin. They had 
sent the pills back to the curandera in Oaxaca state 
and she tried them and had divinatory visions and 
was happy that her practice could now be year- 
round and not restricted to the three rainy mush- 
room months. 

Aldous Huxley was shrewdly aware of the politi- 
cal complications and the expected opposition from 
the Murugans, the name he gave to power people 
in his novel, Island. 

"Dope . . . Murugan was telling me about the 
fungi that are used here as a source of dope. 

"What's in a name? . . . Answer, practically 
everything. Murugan calls it dope and feels about it 
all the disapproval that, by conditioned reflex, the 
dirty word evokes. We on the contrary, give the 
stuff good names the moksha medicine, the reality 
revealer, the truth-and-beauty pill. And we know, 
by direct experience, that the good names are de- 
served. Whereas our young friend here has no 
firsthand knowledge of the stuff and can't be per- 
suaded even to give it a try. For him it's dope and 
dope is something that, by definition, no decent 
person ever indulges in." 

Aldous Huxley advised and counseled and joked 
and told stories and we listened and our research 

October 1960 00 67 

project was shaped accordingly. Huxley offered to 
sit in on our planning meetings and was ready to 
take mushrooms with us when the research was 
under way. 

From these meetings grew the design for a natu- 
ralistic pilot study, in which the subjects would be 
treated like astronauts carefully prepared, briefed 
with all available facts, and then expected to run 
their own spacecraft, make their own observations, 
and report back to ground control. Our subjects 
were not passive patients but hero-explorers. 

During the weeks of October and November of 
i960 there were many meetings to plan the re- 
search. Aldous Huxley would come and listen and 
then close his eyes and detach himself from the 
scene and go into his controlled meditation trance, 
which was unnerving to some of the Harvard 
people who equate consciousness with talk, and 
then he would open his eyes and make a diamond- 
pure comment. 

We talked about having tape recordings and 
music and reproductions of paintings and mystical 
quotations, and people volunteered to round up the 
props and there was only one thing wrong with the 
meetings and that was that it was all talk and no 
action. That is, no mushrooms. It was like sitting 
around planning and talking about sex: we were all 
hungry and impatient for the mushrooms to arrive. 
We hoped that they would come that week and if 
so we'd have the first session on Sunday. 

By Friday they hadn't come and we made careful 
plans to pick up the package at the post office if it 
came on Saturday. I didn't realize until later how 
eager and anxious people were. The tension was 
mounting and it kept mounting Saturday morning 
until George phoned everyone and said that they 
weren't at the post office, and the first session was 
postponed a week. Big letdown and then the ten- 
sion started up again. 

On Wednesday afternoon I came into the office 
and my secretary Clair said, Oh, by the way, the 
mushrooms just arrived. Where are they? George 
and Mike took them and are keeping the package in 
their office. I walked down the hall to their office 

From the Boston Record 
American Mailbag: 

Your editorial, Controlling 
LSD, was excellent, but it 
did not go far enough. 
Walter Winchell, in your 
paper recently, made a 
statement which might do 
more to discourage its use. 
He stated emphatically that 
LSD can make a person 


From the Washington Eve- 
ning Star: 

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, 
D-N.Y., today rapped former 
Harvard University psychol- 
ogist Timothy Leary for not 
sufficiently stressing the 
dangers of LSD in his 
speaking tours. 

The impression that the 
vision-producing drug can 
be used indiscriminately 
"has damaged the minds of 
many of our young people," 
Kennedy said. 


68 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 

Dr. Robert in Island by 
Aldous Huxley. 

"Which brings me back to 
those American doctors. 

but they were gone and the mushrooms were no- 
where to be found. This gave me a funny feeling of 
frustration. The mushrooms had arrived but I 
couldn't see them. Out of my hands, out of my 

The next morning Mike came by my office to chat 
about the session coming up that weekend. He 
didn't mention that the mushrooms had arrived. I 
said, Oh, by the way, I understand that the pack- 
age arrived from Sandoz. Mike took a step back- 
ward and blinked. Oh, yes, they came yesterday. 

Where are they now? 

His face darkened and took on a pinched expres- 

Well . . . I . . . We, George and I . . . took 
them. We didn't want to leave them around. 

He was embarrassed, half defiant. I felt irritated. 

"Three of them were psy- 
chiatrists, and one of the 
psychiatrists smoked cigars 
without stopping and had a 
German accent. ... I 
never heard anything like 

Gandalf looked again very hard at Bilbo, and there 
was a gleam in his eye. I think, Bilbo, he said 
quietly, I should leave it behind. Dont you want to? 
Well yes and no. Now it comes to it, I don't like 
parting with it at all, I may say. And I dont really 
see why I should. Why do you want me to? he 
asked, and a curious change came over his voice. It 
was sharp with suspicion and annoyance. You are 
always badgering me about my ring. (The Lord of 
the Rings ) 

". . . the way they treat 
people with neurotic symp- 
toms . . . they never attack 
on all the fronts; they only 
attack on about half of one 

I'd like to look at them. 

He hesitated and then said, Okay. 

A few minutes later he returned with a brown 
cardboard box. There were four small gray pill- 
boxes inside labeled PS 39, and printed on the 
label, not to be sold, for research investigation. 
There was a plastic stopper and a wad of cotton in 
the neck of the little brown bottle and then I shook 
out in my hand the round pink pills, glistening like 
pearls on my hand. There they were. Keys to the 
doors to perception. I poured them back in the 
bottle and stuffed the bottle back in the box and 
said, let's keep them here in my filing cabinet. I was 
sensitive about control of the pills and felt better 
having them in my office. In my power. Not that I 
had any intention of using them unilaterally. 

October 1960 00 69 

That evening I had a date with a girl named Joan 
and instead of going to the city to dinner I took her 
home because I had promised to buy favors and 
decorations for a big Halloween party which my 
daughter was giving the next night. After we 
shopped and came home I filled the ice- cooler and 
brought a bottle of whisky and soda into the study 
and we sat drinking until dinner, and every time 
the whisky would start to relax me the kids would 
get into a quarrel and I'd bound out to stop it, or 
the phone would ring and then I'd mix another 
drink to quiet down again. We had a bottle of 
Burgundy with the steak and by dinner's end I was 
feeling a fine alcohol stupor. 

In the living room Joan was lying in front of the 
fire, and a friend Joe O'Donell had come in and 
was mixing drinks and we started joking and laugh- 
ing at O'Donell's crazy stories. 

Then Rhona and Charlie came down from the 
third floor to join in the noise. They were the young 
couple who took care of the house, pretty little 
blonde Rhona and big happy Charlie finishing his 
fourth year at Boston University. 

After a while we fell to talking about the mush- 
rooms. Right from the start O'Donell had been 
amused and worldly about the research. This 
shocked me. He was a scientist and serious about 
studying behavior and here he was taking a casual 
attitude towards the mushrooms. The hell with all 
this phony talk and measurement business, let's get 
the mushrooms and start swinging. 

O'Donell was talking along this way, hard-boiled 
and cynical and then he popped the question that 
brought me up short, why don't we have some 
mushrooms right now? Big Charlie had been hear- 
ing all this mushroom talk for days and he jumped 
at this suggestion. Hey, that's a great idea. Let's try 
them out tonight and see what happens. I had been 
lecturing all year on research philosophy and ethics 
and how you should be collaborative and not use 
your position as a scientist to get an unfair advan- 
tage and about sharing information and sharing the 
power to make decisions with the subjects. And 
that was the way we had set up the mushroom 
research. Collaborative all the way. No pulling 

"So far as they are con- 
cerned, the physical fronts 
don't exist . . . 

"mind abstracted from the 
body that's the only front 
they attack on. 

"And not even on the whole 
of that front. The man with 
the cigar kept talking about 
the unconscious. 

70 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 

"But the only unconscious 
they ever pay attention to is 
the negative unconscious, 

"the garbage that people 
have tried to get rid of by 
burying it in the basement. 

rank. Everyone taking turns at giving mushrooms 
and taking them. Now O'Donell's suggestion that 
we take the pills without the rest of the team 
present complicated everything I had been saying 
and the agreement we had made with the rest of 
the group. 

Besides, it will be a useful pilot study. We can 
try out a small dosage and see what happens and 
pave the way for a better session Sunday. That's 
right, said big Charlie, we'll be guinea pigs for the 
rest of them. O'Donell was looking at me coolly. 
Goddammit, don't be so square. You'll ruin the 
whole mushroom business if you try to make it 
rigid and organized and scheduled. In life you're 
either spontaneous or you're nothing. 

Spontaneous. That was some word. About two 
weeks before, I had been standing around at a 
cocktail party in Middletown and composer John 
Cage walked up and asked if I wanted to try his 
mushrooms and I laughed and thought it was a 
joke, kidding about my mushroom obsession, and I 
said sure and he led me out into the kitchen and 
there on a plate were some sliced and broiled 
mushrooms, delicious with butter and salt. John 
told me about the fun of mushrooms ordinary non- 
trance mushrooms that you eat, and how spon- 
taneity was the key. You could go to a forest glade 
for ten days in a row and not see a mushroom and 
then on that eleventh day (or it might be the first 
day for you ) there they are, the mushrooms, push- 
ing up through the soil so fast you can see them 
growing. The magnificent intersection in space- 
time, you and the mushrooms. And you have to be 
there at the exact hour because if you're a few 
hours late then you're too late and the rot has set in 
or the insects have started eating them. It's the 
spontaneity, the planless meeting, the thing you 
can't push or hurry. 

"Not a single word about 
the positive unconscious. 
No attempt to help the pa- 
tient to open himself up to 
the life force or the Buddha 

What troubles you? Why hesitate? Why is your 
heart oppressed by cowardice? Why do you lack in 
courage and zeal when I myself do prophesy such 
good? ( Inferno III ) 

So when O'Donell started this talk that I'm 
square and rigid and you gotta be spontaneous, 

October 1960 00 71 

well, it stopped me short. The last thing in the 
world I wanted to be was a worrying square and 
the last thing I wanted to put down was spon- 
taneity, so I worked out the quick compromise in 
my mind that I'd give them the mushrooms and let 
them have the experience but I wouldn't take them 
and so maybe I'd protect my contract with the 
absent researchers. 

"And no attempt even to 
teach him to be a little more 
conscious in his everyday 
life. . . . 

For by your arguments you have disposed my heart 
to such an eagerness to go that to my first intent I 
have returned. Lead on poet. ( Inferno III ) 

We got in my car and drove down to Cambridge. 
I parked in the front of the office and went in for 
the pills. I came back out to the car carrying a glass 
of water and it was agreed that everyone take two 
pills right away in the car so that the high could 
start building up on the way home. The literature 
on mushroom research suggested using doses of 8 
milligrams, and each pill was 2 milligrams, so that 
when they took two pills they were taking half of a 
normal dose. O'Donell suggested starting slow with 
half a dose and then taking the rest later if it was 
going well. 

There was no reaction in the car and after we 
were settled in front of the fire, O'Donell and big 
Charlie and Joan took two more, and after an hour 
when the effect was working hardly at all, Joan 
took two more and Charlie and O'Donell took three 
more and I took two myself. The dosage for the 
group was 4 milligrams for me, 12 for Joan and 14 
for Charlie and O'Donell. After about an hour and 
fifteen minutes it started to hit. Charlie started 
seeing the room in wonderful technicolor and be- 
gan to pace up and down through the house raving 
about the beauty, the texture, the delicate shades. 

His wife Rhona was watching him amused and a 
bit scared. Charlie was an ex-football guard, not an 
intellectual person and never sensitive to beauty. 
Here he was moving around possessed, chanting 
poetry about the shadows on the rug and the subtle 
play of light on the wall. 

I was lying on the couch feeling good from the 
mood and the two pills and urging Charlie on and 
laughing happily at him. Joan came over and 

"These people just leave the 
unfortunate neurotic to wal- 
low in his old bad habits of 
never being all there in 
present time. The whole 
thing is just pure idiocy! 

72 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 

"No, the man with the cigar 
didn't even have that ex- 
cuse; he was as clever as 
clever can be. So it's not 
idiocy. . . . 

"It must be something 
voluntary, something self- 

" like getting drunk or 
talking yourself into believ- 
ing some piece of foolish- 
ness because it happens to 
be in the Scriptures. 

curled up in my arms and said she felt wonderful 
and how glad she was that I was there to take care 
of her. 

That left poor O'Donell alone. In the molecular 
structure of the psychedelic group the lone atom 
whirls out of orbit. He was the only one not going 
along with the happy spirit. Face black with frown 
and wild-eye look. He was engaged to a girl in 
Seattle and missing her a lot and sick with love and 
loneliness and worry about the romance and he 
seemed to be falling apart under the mushrooms. 
Everything gets intensified lover or loneliness. 
O'Donell was sitting next to me on the couch 
muttering and letting out weird laughs. He turned 
to us and smiled an evil sort of smile and spit on 
the rug. Now under any circumstances this is a 
show-stopper, the sudden violent act smashing 
through the social fabric. But under mushrooms 
shock comes even stronger. Underwater calm and 
bliss shattered by rude spit. 

He had our attention all right. Our eyes were 
riveted to him as he reached down and took a 
package of cigarettes. He began to shake the pack- 
age so that the white cylinders fell into a crazy pile 
on the coffee table. Again, like the spit, it was 
nothing more than a slight eccentric gesture but 
sent a creepy chill running through me. 

O'Donell turned to me with the weird grin. 
Order. Order. Down with order. Again I felt the 
chill. Everything was going so mellow and smooth 
and the mushroom peace was so fine that I was 
surprised to see O'Donell getting worked up. Noth- 
ing seemed important at the moment except the 
loving calm. The idea that people worked them- 
selves up, worrying about things, little things espe- 
cially, was amusing. O'Donell, I said, it's all great. I 
had a girl and he didn't. He looked at me strangely 
and took his fist and pounded it in his hand and 
kept twisting it and turning his fist in his hand. 
Then he got up and walked to the bathroom and I 
could hear him urinating. 

Joan was thirsty, the mushroom thirst, the dry 
throat of visions, so I went to the kitchen. Big 
Charlie standing by the refrigerator. He turned 
with a look of ecstasy. Look at this room. See those 

74 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 

"And then look at their idea 
of what's normal. Believe it 
or not, a normal human be- 
ing is one who can have an 
orgasm and is adjusted to 
society. . . . 

"And then what about the 
society you're supposed to 
be adjusted to? Is it a mad 
society or a sane one? And 
even if it's pretty sane, is 
it right that everybody 
should be completely ad- 
justed to it?" 


Harvard Psychedelic Re- 
search Project: 


walls glowing. It's seething with color. And look at 
these peaches. Look at that red blush on the yellow. 
They're glowing. They're alive. Dad-burn-it, those 
peaches are alive. They can talk. 

Rhona walked in the room with a question on her 
face. What's going on? Your husband is talking to 
the beautiful peaches. Laughter. Charlie looking 
down at Rhona. Honey, if you could only see your- 
self. Why? The way you look. So fresh and wet. 
You look just like a newborn chicken just coming 
out of the shell. I looked at her. I could see what he 
meant. Blonde-yellow and fresh and young. Laugh- 
ter. Charlie was looking at me with wonder. You're 
beautiful, he said. Your face is the most beautiful 
thing I've ever seen. Those lines in your face and 
your hair, the blue and gray, looks like a halo. 
Rhona was laughing too. She started out the door. 
Go tell Joan that Charlie thinks I'm beautiful and 
that I have a halo. 

Charlie back talking to the beautiful peach. It 
was a great peach with its red patch and the fuzzy 
yellow glow. 

Then O'Donell at the door. Still had the funny 
secret smile. Looked down at a kitchen knife on the 
table. Ah, that's what we need a knife. Picked it 
up and looked around. In front of his face was the 
kitchen lamp hung from a long cord. O'Donell 
snarled and slashed at the cord with the knife. 
Horror and violence in paradise. O'Donell, for 
God's sake, behave. He laughed. Behave. That's 
what you want me to do. Behave. Be good. 

O'Donell walked around the table towards 
Charlie with the knife in his hand. Some scene. 
Charlie's face was a picture. Disbelief. Fright. 
O'Donell, for God's sake, put that knife down. You 
scare me waving that knife at me. O'Donell 
laughed. That's what we need. Knives. Fear. Better 
than order. Threw the knife on the table. Big clatter 

I walked back out to the fire. Joan put her head 
in my lap. I missed you. Great abiding peace sitting 
close together. The good old love pill. No talk. 
Firewatching. Noise behind us. Big Charlie and 
O'Donell. Hey. Charlie and I want more pills. The 
two of them looked so worried. They want. Funny 

October 1960 00 75 

notion. To want. Who wants anything except peace 
and love. They want more pills. 

Also the demand annoyed me. And the old power 
thing. I had two pills in me and was happy. They 
had seven in them and wanted more. 

Look. It's two-thirty. The party is going great. 
Why not ride with it? Enjoy it. Don't worry about 
pills. Does it really matter? Do the pills really 


This investigation sets out 
to determine the factors 
personal, social which pro- 
duce optimally positive re- 
actions to psilocybin. "Posi- 
tive reaction" in this study 
is defined as: 

One must not unresistingly let himself be swept 
along by unfavorable circumstances, not permit his 
steadfastness to be shaken. He can avoid this by 
maintaining his inner light, while remaining out- 
wardly yielding and tractable. With this attitude 
he can overcome even the greatest adversities. 

Pleasant, ecstatic, non-anx- 
ious experience 

Charlie sent me his eye and looked sheepish. 
Yeah, you're right. It's late and why worry. Charlie 
walked off. I'm going to look out the window and 
read those lights, he said. 

But O'Donell didn't move. He stood lurching 
above me. His face was twisted with rage. You've 
got those pills and I want them. Are you going to 
give them to me or do I have to start trouble. 

His face scared me. Animal leer. His lips drawn 
back and his teeth were wolf fangs. Trying his best 
to look fierce. He was succeeding. Looked fierce. As 
a matter of fact, I had never seen anyone in my life 
so dangerous. Same time, made me laugh. How 
could anyone get so upset, get so worried. Get so 
worked up about anything as inconsequential as a 
few more pills. Did it matter? Did anything matter 
except peace and love. O'Donell, for God's sake, 
relax. Swing with it. 

The leer. Bared fangs. Face wolfish and the devil. 
Voice low and ominous. I'm going to have those 
pills or there'll be trouble. 

I laughed. Threats. Pills. Trouble. What words. 
Those aren't mushroom words. Felt strong because 
I felt so moral. He was foolish to want and need 
and suffer and threaten. Smart, wise, good me. 

O'Donell gave me a one last snarling look and 

Broadening of awareness 

Increased insight 

An additional aim of the 
study is to determine if the 
reactions to psilocybin 
(positive or negative) are 

76 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 


This study is guided by a 
set of ethical and interper- 
sonal principles which 
stress collaboration, open- 
ness, humanistic inter- 
change between researcher 
and subjects. These prin- 
ciples lead to the following 

1. Participants whenever 
possible will alternate roles 
of observer and subject. 

2. Participants will be given 
all available information 
about the drug and its ef- 
fects before the experiment. 
We will attempt to avoid an 
atmosphere of mystery and 
secret experimentation. 

turned on his heel and went upstairs to bed. Glad 
to see him go. Done O'Donell. 

Charlie paced back and kept up his funny raving 
about the beauty. He had changed. More confident. 
Coming on like a great teacher of men. The beauty 
and the color and now I see what artists are trying 
to do. Trying to get it all down on canvas, the way 
it glows and throbs and lives. 

Good old footballer Charlie suddenly become 
lecturer on art. Giving us the aesthetic chalk-talk. 
And happy too. Pacing, raving, looking with won- 
der, throwing out his arms, wanting to embrace the 
whole scene. Rhona, if you could only see it. And 
I'm so happy. This is Utopia. It's heaven. Why do 
we have to come back? Why can't it always be this 

Charlie goes off to the dining room to dig the 
folds of the curtains. Joan stays there under my arm 
peaceful and quiet. Then after a while the sky 
through the windows beings to lighten and Joan 
says it's time to go and we take the long slow 
winding drive down the Charles bank my right 
hand holding her hand and on her front steps we 
stand watching the first sunlight caught in the tree 
leaves and it was all about as fresh and clean and 
lovely as you could want. 

I had two hours sleep and then rushed back to 
Cambridge to meet a class. As I went by the main 
office I left word that I wanted to see Mike and 
George as soon as possible. I wanted to see them 
right away to tell them about the pilot-study ses- 
sion. I was still worried about jumping the gun, 
about using the mushrooms without their knowl- 

After the class Mike was waiting in my office and 
we sat down and I told him the whole story. About 
my indecision, about my not wanting to be square, 
about O'Donell, about Charlie, about Joan and me 
feeling so close. He didn't like it at all. He didn't 
like our using the mushrooms so frivolously, late at 
night after drinking, in a party fashion. All very 
unscientific. And the issue of trust and responsi- 
bility. Couldn't I be depended upon? Was I so 
easily influenced? All very unscientific and non- 

I apologized and s.aid I felt bad about not in- 

78 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 

3. The participants will be 
given control of their own 
dosage. A maximum dosage 
will be determined by the 
principal investigators. 

This maximum number of 
tablets will be given the 
subject and he will be told 
to dose himself at the rate 
and amount he desires. 

4. The sessions will take 
place in pleasant, spacious, 
aesthetic surroundings. Mu- 
sic, art reproductions, sym- 
pathetic observers will be 

forming George and him. But also that I was glad it 
had happened because we had learned a lot. First 
of all about the dosage. It was clear that the articles 
in the scientific literature were way off. The psychi- 
atric studies had been using four and five pills. 
Here we had Joan taking six and just feeling cozy. 
And here was Charlie taking seven and just getting 
sensitized to beauty and not coming anywhere near 
the deep visions and the falling down through the 
floor, through the earth surface down into the well 
of time the way we did in Mexico. 

And the second thing we learned was timing of 
dosage. People could start with moderate amounts, 
like two or three pills, and then increase the dosage 
at their own speed so that they could control it 
themselves and not be suddenly clobbered by a big 
first dose. And then too it was obvious that ob- 
servers could take small doses as well so that they 
could go along part of the way with the visionary 

I explained to Mike that it was inevitable that 
Charlie and Rhona be made part of the group 
eventually. We couldn't keep them out of the 
mushroom scene taking place on the premises. 

Mike remained disapproving, wrenching every 
drop of guilt from the dark raisin of my remorse, 
but after I apologized he was touched and at the 
end he wrung my hand in forgiveness. 

After Mike left, O'Donell came by my office 
and I told him about Mike's punitive wrath. He 
nodded cool and wise. Sure. Sure. I understand the 
whole thing. It's those damn research meetings 
we've been having. Everyone gets all worked up. 
Anxious. They want to take the trip and they are 
scared to take the trip. The whole research business 
is fake anyway. There's too much fear around. This 
society is run on fear. Research is a phony ritual to 
counteract fear of the mystery. We should keep this 
thing secret. Have a good time with these mush- 
room pills. Learn with them. You can't research 
ecstasy except on yourself and your friends. And all 
this collaborative research bullshit. How are you 
going to collaborate or have a good time with 
people who are afraid of fun and ecstasy and keep 
using science as a defense? 

October 1960 00 79 

I knew he was right. It was some residual con- 
formist, prudish cop-out feeling of mine to want to 
have ecstasy above ground. To make the joyous 
mystery public and socially acceptable. It was hard 
for me to accept the fact that you can't surrender to 
God's grace and win a Sunday school merit badge 
at the same time. 

Another thing, said O'Donell, there's the power 
thing. Mike was sore because we went ahead last 
night without him. Well that's the way it's going to 
be. Everyone who isn't tripping himself because 
he's too scared or tired is going to resent our doing 
it. Sex, drugs, fun, travel, dancing, loafing. You 
name it. Anything that's pleasurable is going to 
bring down the wrath of the power-control people. 
Because the essence of ecstasy and the essence of 
religion and the essence of orgasm (and they're all 
pretty much the same) is that you give up power 
and swing with it. And the cats who can't do that 
end up with the power and they use it to punish the 
innocent and the happy. And they'll try to make us 
look bad and feel bad. 

Yeah, and they can make it sound bad too. Can't 
you see the headlines they could have written 
about last night's trip? profs lure girls to drug 
parties. Or how about this one profs, coeds 
nabred in drug raid wasn't that what Mike was 
doing to your head? 

I said, well, we are supposed to be scientists and 
we used the drugs last night in an informal social 
situation. We gave the drugs to our friends. Drugs! 
Listen to that word. Drugs! This country is hysteri- 
cal about drugs. That word is a symbol more 
powerful than sex or communism. To the average 
American the word drug means doctor-disease or 
dope-degenerate. But underneath, everyone knows 
that the key to the mystery of life is chemical. The 
Elixir. The magic potion. The Holy Communion. 
The alchemist's powder. And everyone who wants 
to keep the status quo going is alarmed by the word 
drug. I was thinking of Lola, the Mexican maid, 
running across the lawn crossing herself in fear, fear 
of the mushrooms. 

I was feeling fear in a double dose. From within 
and without. The fear of taking the trip and going 

5. The subject will be al- 
lowed to bring a relative or 
friend to be his observer. 

6. No subject should take 
the drug in a group where 
he is a stranger. 

7. An attempt will be made 
to have one observer for 
each two subjects. The sub- 
jects will be given complete 
freedom of the house but 
cannot leave the premises. 
Observers will be available 
at all times for discussions. 

80 00 The Sacrament Solves No Problems 


The basic data of the re- 
search are reports written 
by the subject after his ex- 

out of my mind. And the fear of the wrath of the 
control people who were opposed to others' taking 
the trip. I was climbing on the tightrope I was to 
walk for the next seven years. I was scared by the 
freedom O'Donell was defending. And afraid of the 
prudish social forces which attack freedom. 

Every participant who writes 
up a report receives copies 
of all other reports after 
completion of his own. This 
procedure increases the 
feeling of collaboration and, 
we believe, leads to frank 

A second source of data 
are questionnaires filled 
out by each subject. 

There is a third source of 
data: ratings executed by 
observers who watched the 
subjects and interviewed 
them during and after the 

In a time of darkness it is essential to be cautious 
and reserved. One should not needlessly awaken 
overwhelming enmity by inconsiderate behavior. In 
such times one ought not to fall in with the prac- 
tices of others; neither should one drag them cen- 
soriously into the light. In social intercourse one 
should not try to be all-knowing. One should let 
many things pass, without being duped. ( I Ching ) 

Any psychedelic session confronts you with para- 
doxes that man has struggled with for thousands of 
years. And this innocent little trip proposed by 
O'Donell had been a four-year college education. It 
destroyed my hopes that the mushroom pill was an 
automatic love-revelation pill. 

This was a disturbing discovery. There seemed to 
be equal amounts of God and Devil (or whatever 
you want to call them) within the nervous system. 
Psychedelic drugs just open the door to the Magic 
Theatre, and the stages and dramas you encounter 
depend on what you are looking for, your state of 
mind when you begin, the pressure of your travel- 
ing companions. 

The terrible truth began to dawn and, no, I 
didn't want to face it that our consciousness cre- 
ates the universe we experience. We are the archi- 
tects of the celestial and hellish stages we act upon. 

I began to get a sinking feeling. Psychedelic 
drugs didn't solve any problems. They just magni- 
fied, mythified, clarified to jewel-like sharpness the 
basic problem of life and evolution. 

I began to feel the frustration of the guy who 
invented the wheel at that horrid moment when he 
real-ized it could be harnessed to any damnable 
human game to a war chariot, to a bulldozer, to a 
Las Vegas roulette table. The old games will always 
be with us: spontaneity vs. control, freedom vs. 
structure, love vs. isolation. The stage sets get 

October 1960 00 81 

bigger. The energies move faster, our insight into 
the divine plan becomes more awe-fully detailed. 
The razor-edge of paradox remains. 

The thunderstorm has the effect of clearing the 
air; the superior man produces a similar effect 
when dealing with mistakes and sins of men that 
induce a condition of tension. . . . He forgives mis- 
deeds . . . just as water washes everything clean. 

And the quizzical smile of O'Donell remained. 


All the subjects will be vol- 

Three groups of subjects 
will be studied in this ex- 
ploratory period: a group of 
professional and non-pro- 
fessional volunteers, a 
group of outstanding crea- 
tive intellectuals, a group 
of persons psychologically 
addicted to and dependent 
on drug stimulation. 



In adversity 

It furthers one to be persevering. 




You Will Be Hurled Beyond 
the Good and Evil Game: H 




November 1960 w 

Guide: susan leary j 

Oracle: X g 

Treading (Conduct) 

The Creative, Heaven 

The Joyous, Lake 

Heaven above, the lake below: 

The image of treading. 

Thus the superior man discriminates between 

high and low, 
And thereby fortifies the thinking of the 




Susan Leary: 

My first memories about 
my father's research are of 
sessions in our house on 
Grant Avenue, in Newton, 
Massachusetts, in 1960. 

I remember lots of people 
coming all the time and 
turning on, and uh, I re- 
member doing things with 
the people. 

I was thirteen years old at 
the time. 

We had an enormous house, 
and uh, there was a huge 
living room with a shaggy 
green rug that looked like 
a field of grass. 

And a sort of music room. 
We lived in this beautiful 
house sort of like a mu- 

The house was in a big stir of excitement when I 
got home. The great Halloween party was in the 
works. Ten teen-age boys and nine girls. The girls 
were going to stay over for a slumber party. They 
were busy stringing up orange and black ribbons, 
creative over joyous, and trying out the record 
player and fixing each other's hair and giggling 
about costumes and boys. We were all whipped up 
into a pre-party frenzy and it didn't help when 
some parents, whom I had invited to come for a 
drink after the party, appeared beforehand expect- 
ing to be entertained. 

Gradually the house began to fill up with sailors 
and tramps and clowns and pickaninnies and Japa- 
nese geishas and the adults assembled in the 
kitchen to keep out of the way. We had ordered 
two roast chickens but no one was hungry so we sat 
around the kitchen table putting away the Scotch 
and listening to the noise from the front rooms. 

My tension kept building up. No sleep the night 
before, of course, and the moral donnybrook with 
Mike at the office and then I had to rush out to 
interfere when my daughter started fighting with 
her brother, who had burst a girl's balloon. And 
when we expected the party to settle down to 
dancing, it turned out that teen-age boys don't 
dance and the girls huddled disgustedly in the 
dining room near the record player while the boys 
started a football game in the living room, tackling 
any girl who got caught in midfield without inter- 
ference. Just about at the point when the whistle 
should be blown I raced out of the kitchen and 
broke up three scrimmages and got everyone 
assembled in the dining room and sitting down for 
entertainment, except that we hadn't figured out 
any entertainment, and there were the twenty faces 
waiting intently to be entertained. 

November 1960 00 85 

O'Donell and I got all the girls into the living 
room and told them to hide. And then we went into 
the dining room and gave the boys paper bags to 
put over their heads and told them to hunt around 
blind in the living room until they found a girl and 
then to sit on the couch with her. Well the game 
went like wildfire and why not since we had har- 
nessed the strongest motive of all to make the 
wheels go round. For the next fifteen minutes we 
stood in the living room catching the lamps as they 
fell and umpiring the action and listening to the 
screams and giggles. When the last girl was caught 
a big cheer went up and then the girls said that 
they wanted to catch the boys and the whole act 
was repeated and when the last boy was caught 
they all screamed that they wanted to try it again 
and the boys went into the dining room and we 
started helping the girls to hide. The atmosphere 
was reeking of teen-age excitement, really indecent 
in its fervor, and when one flushed girl came up 
breathless and asked the name of this wonderful 
new game I told her, honey the game isn't really so 
new. It's as old as life and she said, well, we do 
need a name for it and I said we'll think of a good 
name sooner or later. 

Now about four or five of the girls had just 
blossomed within the last few months and this 
didn't lower the temperature. They kept wanting to 
hide up on the ledges of the bookshelf and kept 
calling to O'Donell and Charlie and me to help 
boost them up and they kept falling back on top of 
us and we were struggling to lift them up and hold 
them from falling and then the boys came in and 
the screams commenced and O'Donell and I tot- 
tered back to the kitchen and poured a Scotch and 
looked at each other. 

At eleven the boys departed and we got the nine 
girls herded upstairs to the master bedroom and set 
up the TV and the record player and good nights 
all around and back to the kitchen. The three of us, 
Charlie and O'Donell and I, were sitting around the 
kitchen table catching our breath and then the 
parade began. The girls kept coming down for hot 
chocolate and cookies and milk and ice cream. The 
girls were still flushed and wound up and couldn't 

It was rented from a very 
rich professor who had 
traveled around the world 
collecting material objects 
and they were very beauti- 

There was a Moroccan 
lamp on the first floor at 
the bottom of the main 
stairway and it had lights 

It was very large and had 
all different-colored glass 
around it. 

When you turned it on in 
the nighttime it glowed and 
radiated and people would 
get hung up looking at it. 

I remember lots of graduate 
students coming for psy- 
chedelic sessions, and min- 
isters and Harvard profes- 
sors and religious people 
with robes, and poets. 

86 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

I remember Charlie Olsen 
was one of the first. 

I remember he was very 
big and tali, looked like a 
gigantic mountain of teddy 
bear. I came to about his 

Much of the time I was not 
involved in what was going 
on in the house. 

I had my own social scene 
with kids in Newton. But I 
remember him being around 
the house, like a Santa 
Claus laughing. 

He was very nice. 

leave that kitchen alone. There was one long-legged 
girl in particular who was wearing pink underpants 
and a green sweater and she stood by the electric 
mixer waiting for a milk shake and kept pulling the 
sweater down over her underpants and when she 
let go the sweater snapped up and then she pulled 
it down and it snapped up and then she pulled it 
down and it snapped up. She made four trips to the 
kitchen and finally I asked her in a nice way to go 
back up and put on her overcoat or something. 
Charlie and O'Donell and I were trying to carry on 
a conversation and finally I called a curfew on the 
girls' kitchen visits and we went back to serious 

We were all three tired and drawn out to a fine 
edge and the whisky was relaxing and we fell to 
discussing the mushrooms and the big moral 
struggle of the day. Good old solid Charlie was 
shocked and angry at the moral abuse we had 
taken from Mike. O'Donell had some creative 
theories explaining why they always persecute us. 
He was taking all the blame for the informal 

The more we talked the more righteous I became 
and the madder I got at the moralists. Alcohol stirs 
up the emotions. Of course, the more I agreed with 
O'Donell, the more guilty I became about my re- 
sentment towards him and my blaming him for the 
session. So we were swinging along in the most 
cheerful style and then the question came up again. 
O'Donell said, well, why don't we have a mush- 
room or two just to see what a small dose would 
do. Now this sounded like a good experiment. And 
after all the turmoil, it seemed only just and true 
that we three comrades should cement our alliance 
with a touch of revelation. It so happened that I 
had the bottle in my pocket. I could feel it there 
every time I reached for matches. I pulled it out and 
we each took two. 

Charlie started again on his mushroom litany. 
They produced paradise, and oriental beauty, and 
he was twenty-two years old and had never 
dreamed that such heavenly bliss was available to 
mankind. I was out of cigarettes and when I asked 
Charlie for a Marlboro he grinned and said, sure, 

November 1960 00 87 

but it will cost you a mushroom. Good enough. I 
poured out a pink pearl and handed it to him. 
When I asked for a light he proposed the same 
bargain and then I realized more clearly the power- 
control position I had set up for myself. That 
moment in my office when I had taken the brown 
cardboard box from Mike and put it in my file, I 
had changed my relationships with everyone I dealt 
with. They all wanted the bread of dreams, the 
flesh of the gods. And I was changed with the one 
ring of power in my pocket. I was feeling that 
miserable pleasure of the millionaire. There was 
always the ploy behind the ploy. Can I tap him for 
nirvana? Can I work him for a vision? There was 
one easy way out. 

Look, Charlie, let's stop all the playing around 
for the mushroom power. I have the ring of power. 
But I don't want it. I'm getting rid of it. I'm giving 
the precious mushroom bottle to you. Here, take it. 
Now you're stuck with it. Now you decide who gets 
them and how many and when. Let them come to 
you for the word. You decide. You dispense them. 
You take the responsibility. 

I handed the bottle to Charlie and laughed at his 
big football face bewildered by my move. I felt 
great. The load was off my shoulders. Mushrooms 
had taught me this much, that the artificial differ- 
ences between people, like age or role or prestige or 
control of the money or the land or the army or the 
mushrooms were irrelevant. I was damn glad to get 
rid of the role that I had put myself in holder of 
the indole ring. 

Less shame, my guide said, would wash away a 
greater fault than yours has been, my son. There- 
fore he unburdened of your sorrow. Remember, I 
am always at your side. ( Inferno VII ) 

And another poet I remem- 
ber is Allen Ginsberg. 

I remember I was watching 
television in my room one 
night and my father was 
running a session down- 

I was watching a movie; 
the airplane movie where 
the airplane catches on fire. 

What's the name of that 
movie? It was the one 
where the wing catches on 
fire and they throw all the 
luggage outside. 

While I was laughing and enjoying my new 
release Charlie was whispering to O'Donell and 
then he began pouring them out in his hand, all of 
them, the whole bottle, pink-pearl cluster in his big 
hand and he counted out eight, a third of the total 
and handed them to O'Donell and then he pushed 
eight with his big finger into his right hand and 

Allen Ginsberg was down- 
stairs and my father would 
come up now and then to 

88 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

And I remember one point, 
my father coming up into 
my room and saying that 
Allen thought that Kennedy 
and Khrushchev should 
have an LSD session to- 
gether and end the Cold 

So Allen got on the phone 
and I remember my father 
was worried about the 
phone bill, so Allen Gins- 
berg called Jack Kerouac 

I remember an Easter Sun- 
day, 1961, Alan Watts the 
philosopher was running a 
session, very Christian. 

They took LSD in goblets 
and read from the New 

During the afternoon it be- 
gan snowing very lightly 

gave them to me and pushed his finger around 
counting six, seven, eight, and let them drop into 
his right hand and popped them into his mouth and 
there was one left the twenty-fifth and he said, 
who gets this extra. O'Donell said, you carry the 
heaviest body weight so you deserve it, and down it 
went, the last pink-pearl pill. I was still holding 
eight in my hand. I was again surprised at the way 
Charlie and O'Donell were treating the mushrooms. 
They were applying the liquor ritual to this new 
commodity. We're hung up always on the rituals 
we've learned, and the old drinking pattern of 
bottoms up and share the supply was operating and 
at this moment you were either with it or you 
weren't. Besides, I had given the responsibility to 
Charlie. I was free so I threw the eight pink jewels 
into my mouth. To speed matters up O'Donell 
suggested that we chew them. Sweet chalky taste 
and we washed them down with Scotch and waited 
for the next scene. 

From all the literature I had read on the subject, 
we had just surpassed the world's record for psilo- 
cybin consumption. The psychiatric people had 
been using 8 to 10 milligrams (that is, four to 
five pills), and I had just consumed 20 milligrams 
(ten pills) and so had O'Donell, and Charlie had 
wolfed down 22 milligrams. 

It hit in about twenty minutes, the waves of 
sensation rippling down the body and the pressure 
on the ear drums. There were six doors to the 
kitchen and they were all closed. We were sealed in 
a bathysphere plunged down to sea bottom. The 
walls and ceilings glowed phosphorescent yellow, 
electric vibrating color. The floor was shimmering 
like lemon Jell-o. Some torn fragments of party 
decoration were scattered on the floor and they 
sparkled, dazzling, black shiny ebony jewels. 
Orange gems. 

Some kid had left a cardboard top hat and 
Charlie tilted it on his head. His face was huge, 
yellow-stained with deep green shadows under his 
eyes. He had grown in stature, the leader, the 
keeper of the mushrooms. Top-hatted ringmaster of 
the cosmic circus. Chuckling, grinning impishly. 
Walking around the kitchen joking about the for- 

November 1960 00 89 

tune in jewels on the floor, lifting his huge body in 
a comic tiptoe gait. The clown genius. He was the 
wisest and funniest person I had ever seen. 

O'Donell the rebel was in a good mood too. We 
were three kitchen conspirators. Three gods romp- 
ing around a spangly paradise. There were only the 
three of us in the yellow-walled universe. No one 
else existed but this rolling trinity. Then over the 
laughter I heard a noise, a door opening upstairs 
and a blast of rock-and-roll from the record player, 
and then the door closing and silence. Oh yes; from 
a thousand years back I remembered the party and 
the girls' slumber-group upstairs on that other dis- 
tant planet. Vague angst. Are they all right? Are 
they doing well a million light-years away up there? 
Yes. Don't worry. Don't take the interstellar trip up 
there to see. . . . 



it all 


The play has started 


Are puppets in that old 

Cosmological drama. 


A large entrance hall leading to wide sweeping 
stairs. On the left of the stairs a huge oaken door 
closes off the dining room. On the right an archway 
leads into an enormous living room dimly lit. A 
small door leading into the kitchen is shut. The 
floor and stairs are covered with a deep-piled rug, 
no, it is really a desert expanse of sand. A wide 
stream of brown sand silently runs down the stairs 
and flows into a shifting pool on the hallway floor. 
The top half of the front door is set in polished 
diamond, three feet by five feet, flashing intense 
glass light. The woodwork and closet doors are 
carved ivory, solid, bone smooth and cool to the 
touch. A light green silk covers the walls and in the 
fabric are thousands of yellow diamonds in the form 
of fleur de lis gleaming. A golden picture frame out- 
lines a large rectangular hole in the wall. Within the 

And I remember at one 
point we all went outside 
and chased snowflakes, and 
were running around catch- 
ing them like baseball 
players chasing fly balls. 

I remember Aldous Huxley 
came over many times. 

He was very tall and 
strange-looking and he had 
a funny accent and he was 
very nice. 

He was tall and thin and 
sort of stoopy. He sort of 
reminded me of Gandalf 
the gray wizard in those 
books on the Fellowship of 
the Ring. 

I was allowed to go any- 
place in the house. The ses- 
sions were always open. 

The doors were always 
open and the people al- 
ways liked having my 
younger brother or myself 
come in. 

90 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

They were always pleasant. 
They weren't very active, of 

They would smile and uh, 
they were always mellow 
and rather angelic. 

If I walked in a room and, 
if I walked into the music 
room for example, and all 
the people were lying 
around listening to music, 
meditating, I would know 
then that they were in a 
session because that's not 
something that people do 
in their normal frame of 

But with people who I 
really didn't know I couldn't 
tell because I had no way 
to compare their normal 
state of consciousness with 
the state of consciousness 
they were in when they had 
taken LSD. 

hole, about three feet back, sits a tall Spanish 
cardinal. He has a long, thin, dirty white beard 
which trembles as he breathes. An elongated Greco 
nose and deep-set eyes watching steadily, now 
frowning, now smiling, now turning down to the 
illuminated manuscript on which his hands rest and 
along which his slender fingers move. His thin pillar 
body is covered with the red folds of an episcopal 
robe, and his arms in yellow-white lace. He is 
watching, waiting, judging, preparing to render 

On the opposite wall there hangs a four-foot 
Moroccan mosque lamp, burnished gold, pierced 
over its entire swollen surface with filigreed lace- 
work designs. Inside the lamp, behind orange, red, 
and green glass, burn three bulbs spilling colors 
over the wall, setting fire to the green silk and 
reflecting from the embedded, flowered diamonds. 

The sand below the lamp is littered with piles of 
gems ruby, emerald, orange-diamond which have 
dropped down through the latticed holes. 

Spotlights flood the stage with changing waves of 
color. Under the sand floor is an electric generator 
which emits a steady hum and charges the atmos- 
phere with high- voltage currents. 

For centuries there is no action, only the cardinal 
moving his thin fingers across his scrolled pages 
and breathing softly. 


The kitchen door opens. Enter Charlie, pagan 
leader of rebel gang. He is nine feet tall, a moun- 
tain man with a huge meat-red face glowing with 
energy, grinning, chuckling over some rebel- 
triumph, eyes dancing. His black top hat is tilted. 
He doesn't walk. He soars in leaping, floating steps 
to center stage, looking around in pleased admira- 
tion. He turns and beckons to his two followers. 

Enter O'Donell and Leary. They are small, wiry, 
happy rebels. O'Donell's face is covered with 
freckled potato sacking through which his white 
animal teeth gleam with impish pleasure. Leary 
gazes around in wonder. 

92 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

I don't remember how often 
my father was taking it, but 
I do remember that he 
would take it with all the 

I remember that there were 
many people who would 
come and many people who 
were involved in what he 
was doing. 

Usually I could tell when 
my father was high, but 
sometimes I couldn't. It de- 
pended on how high he 

I usually could tell, because 
his face would be glowing 
and he'd be radiating. 

There's no 
describe it. 

way really to 

It seemed naiural and good. 

Leader Charlie floats halfway up the stairs and 
sweeps his hand round in gesture. 

charlie: Look. Look at the emeralds. Look at the 
gold. Look at the diamonds. 

(Leary stands in dazed awe. O'Donell shuffles 

around the stage, his shoulders butting forward. He 

is grinning fiercely. ) 

o'donell: They left them and now it's all ours. 

( All three roar with laughter. ) 

Quick, get a paper bag and we'll scoop up 
all those jewels. 

charlie: And the sand. Look, rivers of it. The 
owners of this house are going to be sur- 
prised to find this desert in their hallway. 

( All laugh. And laugh. ) 

What can we do with it? 

leary: Tell the people who take care of the house 
to sweep it up. And clean up all these sloppy 
piles of jewels scattered around. Bad house- 

( All laugh. And laugh. ) 

Tell them to put the sand into millions of 

charlie: Hourglasses. What are they for? 

leary: I once heard about people who make 
machines to measure time. 

charlie: Measure time! They think they can mea- 
sure time? 

o'donell: Hah. Measure time? What crazy thing 
will they think of next? 

leary: Why sure. People will sell the jewels to buy 
machines to measure time. 

charlie: Sell jewels? Next you know they'll be 
selling sunshine. 

leary: And moonlight. 

o'donell: I am time. Can they measure me? With 
an hourglass? 

( All laugh. And laugh. ) 

(Charlie soars down from the stairs and bounds 

around the stage. O'Donell and Leary follow him 

aimlessly. ) 

charlie: This stage is so empty. 

leary: Yes, big and empty. 

o'donell: They've all gone. 

charlie: Where did they go? 

November 1960 00 

o'donell: They've been doing it forever. 

leary: Yes, they do, don't they. 

charlie: What? Do what? 

o'donell: Come and act on the stage set for a while 

and then go. 
charlie: Why do they do it? 
o'donell: Nobody has ever figured it out. 
(Leary has been standing studying the jewels 
dropping from the burnished mosque lamp. He 
turns with a start. ) 
leary: Figured what out? 
o'donell: Where they come from. Why they come. 

Where they're going. 
( They stand, all three, in silence for . . . well, lefs 
say eleven years. Then the cardinal sitting behind 
the gold frame in his rectangle cave turns and 
raises his left hand up to his chin so that it covers, 
merges with his elongated beard. His eyes smile 
compassionately. He speaks in a low voice in Span- 
cardinal: Dear little ones. Do you really think that 

you can answer that riddle? 
leary: Can you answer it? 

(The cardinal smiles, moves his arm down to the 
book, exposing his beard, then moves it back, 
tugging softly at his chin. He says nothing. ) 
leary: Yes I can answer the riddle. There is no 

riddle. (He is thinking of each grain in the 

river of sand swirling below his feet. ) 
o'donell: That's right, there's no riddle. I've solved 

it all, many times. 
charlie: (Reproachful leader-god, commanding.) 

Why do you guys worry? With all this 

beauty? Why worry about riddles? 
o'donell: What riddles? 
charlie: Exactly. What riddles? 
o'donell: We were talking about all of them and 

where they went to. 
charlie: Who? 

o'donell: Why, all the actors that were here before. 
charlie: It is funny when you think about it. 

Where did they go? Who? 
leary: Well, there were the Landlords. They 

rented us the house and left. They think they 

own the set. 
o'donell: Own the set? Own? 

But I always believed in my 
father and what he was and 
I figured that what he was 
doing would . . . I . . . you 
know, he would not be do- 
ing anything for any use- 
less, frivolous reason. 

In spite of the fact that there 
were lots of people and lots 
of laughing there, it wasn't 

Because all the communi- 
cation there was not all 
that much of verbal com- 
munication except when 
Alan Watts was there, who 
talked constantly. 

94 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

But, usually there was not 
much verbal communica- 

It wasn't a social thing, 
really. It was much like peo- 
ple having telepathy. 

It wasn't social like a talky 
cocktail party. 

My father was teaching at 
Harvard at the time and 
when ... I knew that it had 
something to do with his 
Harvard research. 

He never really explained it 
to me, but the people who 
were there were research- 
ers and serious types, lots 
of Harvard graduate stu- 
dents and a lot of very in- 
telligent people. 

leary: And the land too. They think they own the 

( All laugh. And laugh. ) 
charlie: (Still laughing.) Stop it you guys. It's too 

much. You make it sound like a game of 

Monopoly. Own the land. ( He laughs. ) 
leary: Damn right. They bought it with money, 

o'donell: Money, hah. 
charlie: Money. You mean the green paper that 

you find in the cardboard box that the game 

comes in. 
leary: Exactly. 

charlie: Good. Now I understand. 
leary: Well, the Landlords bought it from the 

Cartwrights. And the Crabtrees, they sold it 

to the Cartwrights. That was much earlier in 

the game. 
o'donell : All gone. 
leary: And here we are. With all the sand and the 

jewels and the ivory that goes with it. 
o'donell: Well I think it's only right that we keep 

up the game. Why don't we buy it and sell it 

to each other? 
charlie: Yeah, good idea. It will pass the time. 

And then after we get tired buying and sell- 
ing let's go in and listen to music in the 

(Short pause. Charlie now leaps back up on the 
stairs. ) 

It really is beautiful, isn't it. Shimmering 

and glowing. 
o'donell: Strange, strange. 
leary: Yes. What? 

o'donell: That they did it all. The stage is set. 
charlie: (Soaring down to the doors.) You mean 

the way they made these ivory doors? 
o'donell: Yes. Look at them. How they worked! 
leary: And how they cared. They must have cared. 
charlie: And the old Arab lamp there. Some old 

Arab sitting in his tent hammering it and 

designing the holes and lacework. 
leary: And all for us. 
o'donell: They made the scene and left. 
charlie: Left it for us. 

November 1960 00 95 

o'donell: (Pointing.) Hey, why is that big door to 
the dining room shut? I hate shut doors. 

charlie: It's stuck. I tried to open it. 

o'donell: How did it get closed in the first place? 

leary: I shut it during the game. 

o'donell: What game? 

leary: The game where the boys were searching 
blind after the girls. I had the boys shut up 
in there while the girls were hiding and it 
got stuck. 

o'donell: (He bends over shaking his head, wolf- 
like and muttering. ) Always a mistake. 

leary: What? 

o'donell: To shut people in. Always a mistake. 

charlie: (The leader.) Well, let's open the bars. 
Freedom. The three of us can push the gate 

(Charlie motions. O'Donell and Leary float over 

and they begin shoving and butting, trying to slide 

the door along its roller. It doesn't move. They try 

again. Then stop, all leaning in pushing positions 

against the door. ) 

leary: Well, we've been able to open lots of things 
up tonight. But this one we can't do. 

charlie: Yeah. Can't win them all. We'll do it 
tomorrow when we're not under . . . when 
we feel stronger. 

o'donell: (He is frowning and gnashing his teeth 
slowly, hunched over.) Well, I feel strong 
now. Stronger than anyone in the world. 
And I want doors open. I can't stand to be 
cooped in. (He starts pushing violently, 
savagely, his eyes gleaming and his teeth 
white against his brown, cloth face. He cant 
move the door. Failure makes him angrier 
and he throws himself against the door again 
growling. The colored floodlights begin to 
dim and the room grows shadowy. ) 

And I figured it must have 
something to do with his 
work in psychology. 

It was not a typical home 
life, but my father getting 
involved with LSD was not 
the beginning of my un- 
usual life. 

Even before he got involved 
with LSD I had no mother 
and we traveled a great 
deal in Europe and Mexico 
and I saw a lot of the world 
and interesting people. 

Jewels lose their sparkle. The gem shadows are 
puddles of drab color. Sand river turns into tan 
stained carpet. The white ivory woodwork gleams 
unpleasantly bright. Charlie becomes an ungainly 
young man, silly with child's hat on his head. Three 
drugged men in disheveled shirt sleeves wandering 

When my father got in- 
volved with LSD it just took 
on new, sort of new di- 

96 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

And it's true that all my 
friends just lived with their 
mother and father and so 
forth and they always had 
a tight, small family scene. 

around at the foot of the wide, sweeping staircase. 
The bearded cardinal has frozen, two-dimensional 
against the wall. Three Beckett clowns on a vast, 
empty stage. Pointlessly milling around. 

We used to have a lot of 
visitors come, and people 
staying for the weekend, 
and some staying for pe- 
riods of time. 

It was not the normal, it 
was not like my friends' 
home life. 

Well, my friends weren't 
aware that my father was 
conducting LSD experi- 

They just figured that my 
father had a lot of friends 
coming and going all the 

I heard O'Donell saying something about the 
teen-age girls upstairs. I frowned. Bad thought. 
Keep the other planets out of the action. Charlie 
tilted his top hat down over his eyes, giggling at 
O'Donell. No point in thinking about girls, O'Donell, 
you're impotent under the drug anyway. O'Donell 
scowled. Oh yeah. That's what you think. Talk 
about your own impotency but it doesn't hold 
for me. I may turn them on. 

Charlie grinned. What would the girls' mothers 
think if they knew there were drugged men roving 
around the house. The girls have never been safer, 
I said. All the reports say that the drug turns sex 
off. Charlie laughed. That's right. Last night I could 
look at Rhona and Joan and they were beautiful 
but I had no lust and didn't even want to touch 

O'Donell loosed a mocking laugh. The scene 
bothered me. I was feeling disjointed and rudder- 
less. I felt a longing for someone loving. I missed 
Joan and wanted to hold her close. Charlie and 
O'Donell were arguing and the happy mood was 
lost. Life is pointless without love, I said. We're 
straggling, lost on an endless desert stage. It's all 
meaningless, but we have to do something. 

O'Donell leered. Speak for yourself. I'm going 

It was crystal clear to me that life without love is 
an empty sham, senseless action, puppetry. But we 
have to do something. What had any point? I tried 
to use my mind, but there were no categories, no 
cliches, nothing inferential to hold on to. All love- 
less actions were ritual. Empty gestures. Where, 
where is the real right program? What, what to do 
and why? Where to begin? How to build up a life 
of loveless action? I was standing in the hallway 
with my eyes closed trying to find a philosophy, a 
way, a meaning. What is life about anyway, with- 
out love? I was pushing my mind back, back to 
some beginnings, to something basic. What action 

November 1960 00 97 

is any better than the other? What? What? What? 
Painful, clutching conflict. Then I reached some- 
thing. Helping others. Yes, that's the beginning. 
Everywhere there is helpfulness and then we try to 
help. Yes. There's a difference that makes sense. It 
is better to help than hurt. The house is in a mess 
from the party. Rhona will have to clean it up 
tomorrow. I'll do it tonight. That makes sense. I'll 
start with the kitchen. 

Charlie and O'Donell were still bantering sar- 
castically at the foot of the stairs. The only loveless 
action that makes sense is to clean up the mess, I 
said. Matter of fact, that's a form of love. Come on 
out and help me. 

I left them and walked into the kitchen and 
started running water in the sink and rinsing 
dishes. The door opened and Charlie walked in. 
O'Donell's gone upstairs. Upstairs? I thought of 
upstairs and I thought of the girls and the slumber 
party. Waves of guilt washed over me for having 
dragged my kids around from country to country, 
school to school, house to house, and Susan missing 
friends and the warm cozy routine schedule and 
this was her first party, her first social event, and 
how excited she was and nothing must mar it, no 
clowning-around adults. Upstairs? Where did he go 
upstairs? To bed. I turned from the sink and 
looked at Charlie. My voice was harsh. Are you 

Charlie's face reacting to my rough tones. A look 
of terror. Yes, well, I'm sure . . . that's what he 
said. My voice ominous. Well, I gave you the pills 
and it's your party and you're responsible. More 
terror. Gee, I'll go upstairs to check. I stood by the 
sink thinking again about the dear, naive, 
tender daughter, wanting so much a normal 
stable growing up. I dried my hands and started 
upstairs. In the upper hallway I could see the door 
to the girls' room open and Charlie's voice com- 
manding. I was sick with the horror of it. O'Donell, 
drugged, lurching into the slumber party. Scandal. 
Susan's dream of social acceptance shattered. The 
girls were standing in the center of the room bug- 
eyed. O'Donell was lying on their bed. Charlie was 
bending over him pulling his arm. Come on 

They were not aware until 
the Harvard business was 

Well, um, I'm sure they no- 
ticed something unusual 
about it, but I never dis- 
cussed it with them. 

They were aware that some- 
thing was going on, but it 
was like living in a church 
with jolly people. 

98 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

Federal Court 
Laredo, Texas 

The Court: You may close 
for the government, Mr. 

Mr. Blask: May it please the 
court. Ladies and gentlemen 
of the jury. I, too, would 
take a moment to express 
for Mr. Susman and myself 
appreciation for the pa- 
tience with which you have 
listened to the testimony of 
the last two or three days. 

To say that this was an un- 
usual case would be gross 
understatement, and to say 
that it's an important case 
would be gross understate- 
ment, because, ladies and 
gentlemen, I have partici- 
pated in what I feel is a 
considerable number of 
criminal cases and I cannot 
remember a case that I have 
felt more strongly about 
than I have this case, and 
I will tell you why: 

Because we are dealing to- 
day in and you will be 
dealing with it when you 
are deliberating with a 
man who lives in your so- 
ciety. He may not live in 
your community but he lives 
here in the United States. 
He is no different than any- 
body else. Just because he 
may believe in a different 
religious aspect, that has 
nothing to do with it, or 
because he may be of a 
different race, that has noth- 
ing to do with it. 

O'Donell, let's go downstairs. O'Donell's mocking 
sneer. Nah. I doan wanna go downstairs. I'm gonna 
stay here with the girls. 

Charlie had pulled him up to a sitting position. 
Come on, O'Donell, you can't be in here. Nah. Who 
says I can't. I do what I like. I grabbed his other 
arm and we yanked him to his feet. O'Donell tried 
to throw us off but we held on. Come on, O'Donell. 
We don't belong here. This is the girls' party. Look 
at Susie.. You love her, don't you? Do you want to 
spoil her party? I looked at Susan. She was watch- 
ing us silently, curiously. We pulled O'Donell out 
the door. He was struggling but not too hard. We 
hustled him to the other end of the hallway and 

Goddammit, O'Donell, knock it off. You have no 
right to butt in there. 

Charlie and I were towering over him. He was 
shrinking back from us, his eyes glaring, his lips 
drawn back in animal rage. I had never seen such a 
visage of evil. He gnashed his teeth. He had shrunk 
in size and was crouching, possessed with malice. 
Shocking awful evil. Cornered rat, cornered rat was 
running through my mind. 

Neah. Neah. Mocking whine. Who are you to say 
what is right? Maybe I know what's right for those 
girls. Pampered middle-class dears in there watch- 
ing television and playing records, growing up to 
be miserable middle-class bitches. Maybe the 
greatest thing that can happen to them in their life 
is for me to stir them up a little. 

O'Donell's words hit my empty mind like 
hammer strokes. Stunned me. My God, maybe he's 
right. What reason, real reason do I have to inter- 
fere? It's my own dirty mind. I was racking my 
brain looking for a moral rebuttal. I was on Mars, 
you understand, looking down at earth, seeing in a 
flash the absurdity of social fears, taboos, the insane 
rituals that enslave mankind, the horrid middle- 
class fear. The fear. The fear. Did I want to 
descend to Main Street and protect tribal codes? 
Identify with the New England middle class? Share 
their insane terror of non-conformity? Their fear? I 
felt somehow that what O'Donell was doing was 
wrong but I couldn't tell him why. My mind had 
been purged of cliche and irrational belief. The 

November 1960 00 99 

beautiful, pure empty mind faced with the existen- 
tial moment. The moral crisis. Why shouldn't 
O'Donell do what he wanted? Who could tell in the 
long run whether his plan would or would not be 
good? He might be the sharp Zen master to shake 
the girls out of middle-class shackles. 

I turned, puzzled, to Charlie. He was standing, 
holding O'Donell's arm. His face was dazed. Tell 
him, Charlie, why he shouldn't go into the girls' 
room. Charlie stared at me. I ... I don't know 
why it's wrong for him to go there. 

I could tell that Charlie was going through the 
same moral search. Listen, Charlie. Don't you think 
it's wrong for him to go back in the girls' room? 
Charlie nodded decisively. Yes. I know it's wrong. 
Well, Charlie, tell him why it's wrong. Again the 
puzzled, helpless look. I ... I ... I can't tell 
him. I don't know why. I can't think of any reason. 

Plunged back into the cosmic vacuum. My mind 
ran through a hundred conventional, cliche reasons 
and rejected them. O'Donell was smiling with mean 
triumph. You see, you can't tell me I'm wrong. Do 
you want to set yourselves up as the great moral- 
ists? Telling me about your miserable shoulds and 
shouldn'ts. O'Donell made a move down the hall. 
Charlie and I grabbed him. 

Wait a minute. I know you shouldn't go there. I 
can't tell you why, but I know you're wrong. 

It was all perfectly clear to me. We were re- 
capitulating the moral struggles of the human race. 
We were the first and only men on earth and we 
were faced with the first ethical decision. Of course 
we could use force. Charlie and I the first cosmic 
police force could bend his arms and drag him 
the first and eternal criminal away and overpower 
him. By force. But why? What justification besides 
force? It was the first moral choice of my life. The 
first time I was faced with a fresh, ethical cross- 
roads. There was no learned, easy motto to parrot. 
Ethics had to be built right up from scratch and it 
had to be right not in terms of revealed dogma, or 
fear of punishment, but in terms of the basic issue. 
Now what was the basic issue? What is the un- 
assailable first assumption? Suddenly it came to me. 
Moses on the mountain. A beautiful bolt of Tight- 

When we live here in this 
United States, every law 
that is written on the books 
applies equally to us and 
we must live by them. 

And the reason that this 
case is important and must 
be taken so importantly is 
because you are dealing 
with a man who has taken 
this stand during the time 
that he testified and told 
you, "My name is Dr. Timo- 
thy Leary and that I am a 
psychologist, that I know it 
is wrong to possess mari- 
juana, but I know that there 
are certain ways that I can 
possess it legally and I 
know that if I had applied 
for such relief that I proba- 
bly would not have been 
granted it because they 
would have conducted in- 
vestigations up in Mill- 

And he tells you that de- 
spite all of these things, 
"I am more than the law: I 
am Dr. Timothy Leary and 
the law does not apply to 

And that is why this case is 
so important, because he is 
not above the law. None of 
us are. 

100 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

Congress enacted these 
laws in this book and they 
enacted the laws concern- 
ing marijuana because they 
felt that it was an immense 
danger and that is why it 
was there. 

Congress also recognized 
that there are uses that are 
good for marijuana but that 
in order to experiment with 
it, as he says, or to research 
with it, as he says, he is a 
researcher, you must be li- 

And the government will not 
allow somebody irresponsi- 
ble to be licensed. And I 
think that he is irresponsible 
and I believe that is why he 
could not be licensed and 
had never made an applica- 
tion for it. 

What about the facts in this 

He has admitted to you that 
he smokes marijuana. He 
told you that in 1964 or 
1965, the first time he ever 
touched marijuana was in 

1*11 tell you why you can't go into Susan's room. 
Because it is her trip, her territory, her party, and 
because she doesn't want you there. You have the 
right to do anything you want to so long as you 
don't lay your trip on anyone else. No one has 
the right to force himself on someone else against 
his will. I was speaking slowly with the greatest 
seriousness. When I finished, Charlie shouted, Yes, 
of course, that's exactly right. You can't go there 
because the girls don't want you. Do your own 
thing. Let them do their thing. 

Tremendous flood of relief. The first ethical law 
had been forged. Moses smiles. There was a right- 
not based on force, not based on fear, not based on 
irrational taboo or custom or dogma. But based on 
cellular equality. Mutual respect. Charlie and I 
were nodding at each other happily. O'Donell was 
making a mocking growling noise and suddenly he 
burst out of our grasp and started down the hall. 
We grabbed him and pulled him back and around 
the corner to the north wing of the house far away 
from the girls. 

O'Donell was seething with futile rage. Again the 
rat-face and fangs, and his face even seemed gray 
and furry. We stood there blocking his way, argu- 
ing. You're cops. All cops are the same. Telling me 
what I can't do. Charlie and I were reasoning with 
him. Why don't we go back downstairs and have 
fun the way we were? Charlie was pleading. He 
had been swayed by O'Donell's violent rebuttal. 
We got no place. We were spoilsport, busybody 
policemen and O'Donell was going to have his own 
way. What can we do? Charlie was looking at me 

Suddenly I felt a moral impatience with Charlie. 
He was no longer the wise, Olympian clown god. 
He was a whining, begging boy who had talked me 
into giving him the pills and caused all this mess. 
Goddammit, Charlie. See what you did giving out 
the pills that way? I never wanted you to start this 
mess. You were the big shot and it's your responsi- 

Now Charlie was mad. Oh? It's my responsibility, 
is it? Well, I quit! I resign! You're twice my age and 
you're twice as smart as I am and you handle it. I 

November 1960 00 101 

quit! Charlie dropped O'Donell's arm and started 
down the back stairs to the kitchen. Good, said 
O'Donell, all the cops quit and now I'm going back 
to see the girls. O'Donell started down the north- 
wing hallway and Charlie was moving down the 
stairs. I was panicked. I could follow O'Donell and 
leap on him and wrestle him back, but I feared the 
noise. I was obsessed by the dread of disturbing 
the girls. Fear of a scandal. I called down the 
stairs. Now I was pleading. Okay, Charlie. It's not 
your responsibility. But as one friend to another, 
as one human being to another, will you help me 
keep him away from the girls? 

Charlie looked up in my eyes. We both under- 
stood. Responsibility and roles were nonsensical 
and Charlie had been right to see through this and 
reject it. Under the mushrooms there aren't roles 
and rituals. But the appeal to him as man to man 
couldn't be dismissed. Charlie bounded back up 
and ran to the corner of the hall. He grabbed 
O'Donell's arm. O'Donell snarled and tried to push 
past. Charlie laughed, ominous, confident. Oh, little 
man, you want to get rough with me. Football 
Charlie was a giant pushing back the tiny foe. 
Don't try to pull any force, O'Donell, because that 
just won't work. 

The three of us standing in the north-wing hall- 
way. O'Donell sunk in bitter passivity. He was still 
muttering about cops. Need for someone present 
who was not under the drugs. We were still the 
only three men in the universe and we needed help. 
Then I thought of Rhona. Charlie, go up and wake 
Rhona. Tell her we need her down here badly. 
Charlie nodded and started down the hall. He 
walked sheepishly and I shouted to him ( again sore 
about his giving out the mushrooms irresponsibly), 
Ah, hah, you're guilty, aren't you? I was happy to 
see him guilty at waking his wife and exposing her 
to this drug mess. I was happy because it made me 
right and him wrong. 

Rhona's face was pinched and sour. She was 
blinking at the light. I was glad to see her. Rhona, a 
terrible thing has happened. She was cool and 
businesslike. What's so terrible? I explained the 
situation. First of all, you must realize that the 

This is research? This is a 
man who tells you that "I 
am above the law." 

What kind of a man are you 
dealing with? What kind of 
a man do you have before 
you here today? 

You have a man that says, 
"I believe in bringing up my 
children the old-fashioned 
way," and the "old-fash- 
ioned way," ladies and gen- 

is to expose them to mari- 
juana, expose them to these 
other drugs that he has no 
right to dispense. And that 
is what we have here. 

Is that irresponsibility? 

I can think of no no other 
situation that can be more 

Mr. Fitzgibbon: If Your 
Honor please. I thought on 
the question of religion we 
weren't going to talk on it. 

The Court: Religion? 

Mr. Fitzgibbon: The right to 
bring up our children. 

102 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

Mr. Blask: Now, getting 
back to the fact as it re- 
lates to Dr. Leary and this 
marijuana, as we are deal- 
ing with here today 

and you recognize it's not 
a question of the quantity, 
because if we wanted to 
railroad him into being pun- 
ished, we could have manu- 
factured something 

and I think you realize 
that we are bringing you the 
honest facts. That's all 
there was, was something 
about a half an ounce. 

The question of the amount 
has nothing to do with it 
nothing whatsoever. 

What did this man admit to 

Whether we 
value or not 
he obtained 
in New York 
it from New 
Texas. He 
that. There 
about it. 

take it at face 
, he admits that 

the marijuana 
; he transported 
York to Laredo, 

has admitted 
is no question 

He did not have the proper 
order forms. There is no 
question about that. 

But he won't get a license 
because he knows they 
won't give it to him and he 
secretes the marijuana. 

That is the responsible per- 
son for you. 

three of us have taken a bigger dose of these pills 
than anyone in the world. Rhona was still cool. So 
what's so bad about that? 

Then I told her about the scene in the girls' room 
and how O'Donell insisted on going back. Rhona 
listened thoughtfully and we were all watching her. 
She became the great judge and law-giver. 

Who says I shouldn't do what I want to do. But, 
teen-age girls! Susan's party! We were pleading our 
cases. Rhona listened. The hallway was shadowy, a 
dim cave deep in the underworld. We finished. 

Finally the silence breaks. Truth speaks. 

Of course you can't go in there, O'Donell! 

And his voice coming back, mocking Rhona's 
prim, proper British, Nyayah. Why can't I go in 
there? What law says I can't and who's law? My 
tight muscles loosened when Rhona had pro- 
nounced the verdict, but now they tightened again. 
Could she give a reason, a rule that went beyond 
the transient rules of the games that we all knew 
we didn't have to play? 

And the reply, cool and so convincing. Impos- 
sible to think of going in there, O'Donell. Groivn- 
ups don't pin pajama parties! It just isn't done. 

Wham! What a judgment. What legal logic. 
Moses, take your stone tablets. Justice Brandeis, 
forget your Blackstone. Rhona's words. Pinnacle of 
legal reasoning. Rhona, just two years out of teen- 
age herself, knew the rule as relentless as Three 
strikes you're out. Adults don't infringe on the 
trip of the adolescent. I was swinging clear and 
happy. And loving Rhona. Admiration. O'Donell 
was stunned. You could see his tense squirming 
body begin to relax. Looking down at the floor. 
Nodding his head. We stood for a long time and 
then Rhona, briskly, case-dismissed, no-nonsense 
voice, said All right. All of you come down to the 
kitchen and I'll brew up some tea and cookies. The 
calm, sure voice of the British empire. Righto! 
Good show! Well done! Now let's have tea. 

Rhona started down the back stairs. Charlie and I 
stood back waiting for O'Donell to go next. We 
were all thinking the same thing. O'Donell made an 
impatient gesture and Charlie glanced at me and 
went down. I followed. We were all listening and 

104 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

But what does he do when 
he is finally exposed and 
they find out about it? 

He makes a joke about it. 
Now, I don't mean to shout, 
for shouting's sake, but I 
feel so strongly about this 
case and his acts that I can't 
help myself, and I hope that 
you will forgive me. 

But when anybody makes 
fun and thinks it such a 
joke to possess marijuana 
illegally I think it is im- 
portant and I think that you 
ought to consider it impor- 

and I ask that when you 
deliberate, you look at 
those counts two and three, 
and I think that you will 
find that he transported that 
marijuana against the laws 
of the United States; he did 
not pay the tax on it; that 
on count two, when he 
found out that that mari- 
juana was in his posses- 
sion, he knew it. 

The Court: Dr. Leary, you 
and your counsel will step 
up here, please, sir. 

Your case the situation in 
which you find yourself 
here gives a great deal of 
concern. You are, of course, 
as I am sure you recog- 
nize, an unusual type of 
personality, unconventional 
in many respects. 

turning our heads to see if O'Donell would come. 
He paused at the top of the stairs. We walked 
slowly down. Then he took two steps and stood, 
playing with us. I looked back and saw the sly, one- 
up grin, lips drawn back from the teeth. When I 
turned the corner of the stairs there was silence and 
then slowly O'Donell came down. 

In terms of a human situation,, one is handling wild, 
intractable people. In such a case one's purpose will 
he achieved if one behaves with decorum. Pleas- 
ant manners succeed even with irritable people. 


Rhona was putting the kettle on the stove. Hey, 
Rhona, go up and check on the girls, will you? All 
right. Rut why don't you men start cleaning up this 

I was ripped apart with guilt over lousy-father 
irresponsible stuff and scared of O'Donell. He had 
a wild gleam and was muttering to himself and 
moving with a clumsy madman plod. I feared him 
and sensed the insanity and understood the in- 
sanity and his confusion and sympathized with the 
confusion. Why? Who makes these rules? And 
why? And why do they hurt and humiliate? He just 
didn't understand the social game and was going 
through motions that were meaningless. Rinsing 
dishes. He wasn't happy about it. We could hear 
him muttering and the dishes breaking. I felt a 
closeness with him. We were all prisoners in a 
concentration camp of our own making. Pushed 
and punished by senseless rules. I went over to get 
the garbage can and quickly leaned over to him. 
Two Jews in the Nazi prison. Look, I whispered, 
the whole world is crazy. The whole system is 
insane. Rut don't try to fight it now. Play along. 
We got ourselves into it. It's the only way. 

O'Donell shot me an understanding glance and 
nodded. Yeah, you're right, he whispered. We'll play 
it out. 

I went outside to empty the cans, saying to 
myself, yeah, the world is crazy. They want order 
and I can't think of anything better than order so 
let's clean up. And anyway someone will have to 

November 1960 00 105 

clean up if we don't and that's doing good and 
makes some sense. 

When I came back Charlie was standing by the 
stove, hands on hips, smiling and shrugging his 
shoulders. Look! O'Donell, what are you doing? 
O'Donell was cleaning up the table. He had a big 
brown bag and was dumping everything in the 
garbage food, glasses, silver, cigarette lighter. The 
voice stopped him and he stood holding the bag, 
grinning. I took the bag from him and laughed. 
O'Donell just won't play the game. With that stupid 
look and moronic grin, he is making a joke of the 
whole business. It was kind of funny. Next the roast 
chickens, sitting on serving plates, untouched. 
O'Donell took an ashtray and dumped it on the first 

Don't throw ashes on 

My fresh roast chicken. 

There's no celestial housemaid. 
He was wrong. But why? In the great cosmic 
scheme of things why not throw silver in the gar- 
bage and ashes on the fresh roast chicken? Why? I 
stood there holding the garbage sack in my hands, 
brow furrowed. Why? Why not? Why? Then I 
understood. It's okay not to play the game if you 
are willing to deal yourself out of the game. Don't 
play house if you don't want to play house. But 
don't live in the house and expect the rewards of 
the house game. Yeah, O'Donell. Sure. Empty ashes 
on the chicken if you don't mind eating chicken 
with ashes. But don't infringe on others' games. 
Don't throw out Charlie's lighter and the family 
silver. And don't break up the teen-age girls' game. 
Break up. Destroy. I remember him slashing the 
lamp cord with the knife and spitting on the carpet. 
Suppose your game is destroy. I thought of all the 
poor kids who had been left out of the rich games 
they saw all around them. Why? Explain it. Why? 
Because some games, most games, keep others out. 
Not because the kid can't play well enough. Not 
because he isn't willing to learn. But because no 
reason. So they create the game of destroy. If you 
play the game of keep-out, then you provoke the 
game of destroy. Smash the middle class. Down 
with the rich. Slash the Cadillac tires. Loot and 

It is my duty, in due course, 
to impose sentence for 
these offenses. 

Is there anything you want 
to tell me at this time in 
your own behalf or in miti- 
gation or extenuation? 

Defendant Leary: No, sir. 

The Court: In that case un- 
der count two I impose a 
period of confinement of 
twenty years and a fine of 

On count three I impose a 
period of confinement of 
ten years and a fine of 

You may remain at large 
on bond until such time as 
you receive instructions 
through the District At- 
torney as to where to report 
for this examination that I 
have in mind. 

Susan, come forward. 

On your plea of not guilty, 
I have found you guilty of 
on the third count of this 

106 00 Beyond the Good and Evil Game 

I hope you will understand 
that throughout this trial 
and now, and insofar as 
this court has jurisdiction 
of this matter in the future, 
my desire will be to take 
the action which is for your 
own best interests. 

It occurs to me that you 
have been raised in very 
unusual surroundings and 
I cannot, in my own think- 
ing, measure your conduct 
by the same standard that 
I might measure another 

trample the Roman villa. Rape the Alabama white 
woman. Jettison the Landlord's silver. Mangle the 
pajama party of the sleek, smug suburban teen-age 
girls. We all want to violate that fence that keeps 
us out. 

Heaven and the lake show a difference of eleva- 
tion that inheres in the natures of the two, hence no 
envy arises. Among mankind also there are neces- 
sarily differences of elevation; it is impossible to 
bring about universal equality. But it is important 
that differences in social rank should not be arbi- 
trary and unjust, for if this occurs, envy and class 
struggle are the inevitable consequences. If, on the 
other hand, external differences in rank correspond 
with differences in inner worth, and if inner worth 
forms the criterion of external rank, people acqui- 
esce and order reigns in society. ( I Ching X ) 

In order to give me the best 
understanding on the im- 
position of sentence in your 
case, I order you committed 
to the custody of the At- 
torney General for observa- 
tion and study at an ap- 
propriate classification cen- 
ter or agency, with report 
to be made to the court of 
its findings within a period 
of sixty days. 

This is what I believe ulti- 
mately will be to your ad- 

Anything further? 

Mr. Blask: We have nothing 

Rhona was back. I had visions of outraged virtue. 
Drugged men wrestling and lurching through the 
pajama party. What would they tell their fierce 
social mothers? Were they terrified? Was Susan 
crushed? Rhona was calm and casual. Oh, they're 
doing fine. Pillow fights and rock-and-roll and only 
worried about when we'll make them turn off the 
record player. 

Rhona was at one end of the table. O'Donell at 
the other. Charlie and I facing each other. I wanted 
Rhona's approval for something, for everything. Oh, 
Goddess, hear my story. Rhona was sleepy but 
resigned to the role and interested in my approval 
and my wisdom. I was ready to discuss how we 
had to leave Newton; drugs at a teen-age party. 
Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. Rhona was worried about the 

Charlie! You know you must scald the pot before 
you put the tea in. Wise words. Five hundred years 
of solid empire. That great little island and the 
game they invented and believed in and how they 
made it stand up. Society is a crazy made-up game. 
Riddled with confusion and fear and conflicting 
guilt and no one's gods come through and when 
the whole thing begins to fall apart and you know 
it's falling apart, then comes the clear, calm voice. 

November 1960 00 107 

Scald the pot. Okay. Somewhere there's an ancient The Court: In that case, 
game which keeps going and at the moment I was e wiM recess under the 
glad for it. 

The domestic routine. The kitchen. The boiling 
of water. The washing. The eternal soft voice of the 

young mother naively bored with male speculation (Court recessed on March 
and male struggle. The soothing, centering rhythm 11,1 966) 
of family life. The rite to heal wrong. 00 

treading. Treading upon the tail 

of the tiger. 
It does not bite the man. Success. 




The Blueprint to Turn-On the World : 

December 1960 
Guide: allen Ginsberg 
Oracle: L 
The Caldron 

The Clinging, Fire 

The Gentle, Wind, Wood 

Fire over wood: 

The image of the caldron. 

Thus the superior man consolidates his fate 

By making his position correct. 







Here is a statement for San- 
doz. Is it okay? 

Have had experience with 
mescaline, LSD-25, and 
psilocybin. The mushroom 
synthetic seems to me the 
easiest on the body physi- 
cally, and the most control- 
lable in dosage. 

The effects are generally 
similar, subjectively. Psilo- 
cybin seems to me to be 
some sort of psychic god- 

It offers unparalleled oppor- 
tunity to catalyze aware- 
ness of otherwise uncon- 
scious psychic processes. 
To widen the area of hu- 
man consciousness. 

To deepen reification of 
ideas and identification of 
real objects. To perceive 
the inner organization of 
natural objects and human 

By this time there was in existence an informal 
international network of scientists and scholars who 
had taken the trip and who foresaw the powerful 
effect that the new alkaloids would have on human 
culture. The members of this group differed in age, 
temperament, and had widely differing ideas about 
tactics, but the basic vision was common to all 
these wondrous plants and drugs could free man's 
consciousness and bring about a new conception of 
man, his psychology, and philosophy. 

There was Albert Hoffman, who had invented 
LSD, who dreamed the Utopian dream, but who 
was limited by the cautious politics of Sandoz 
Pharmaceuticals. What a frustrating web his genius 
had woven for Sandoz. How could a medical-drug 
house make a profit on a revelation pill? 

Sandoz knew they had patented the most power- 
ful mind-changing substance known to man. They 
spent millions to promote research on LSD. They 
righteously expected to make millions when the 
psychiatric profession learned how to use LSD, and 
they were continually disappointed to discover that 
human society didn't want to have its mind 
changed, didn't want to touch a love-ecstasy potion. 

In 1961 a top executive of Sandoz leaned across 
the conference table and said to me, LSD isn't a 
drug at all. It's a food. Let's bottle it in Coca-Cola 
and let the world have it. And his legal counsel 
frowned and said, foods still come under the juris- 
diction of the Food and Drug Administration. 

By 1966, when LSD was crowding Vietnam for 
the headlines, officials of Sandoz Pharmaceuticals 
were groaning, we wish we had never heard of 

I do really wish to destroy it! cried Frodo. Or 
well, to have it destroyed. I am not made for peril- 


December 1960 00 111 

ous quests. I wish I had never seen the Ring! Why 
did it come to me? Why was I chosen? (The Lord 
of the Rings ) 

To enter the significance 
and aesthetic organization 
of music, painting, poetry, 

The story of Albert Hoffman, the secret behind 
his wise silence, has yet to be told. But for the 
moment he was uneasily forced to play the drug- 
company researcher game. 

There were the detached philosophers Aldous 
Huxley, Father Murray, Gerald Heard, Alan Watts, 
Harry Murray, Robert Gordon Wasson who knew 
that the new drugs were re-introducing the platonic- 
gnostic vision. These men had read their theological 
history and understood both the glorious possibility 
and the angered reaction of the priestly establish- 
ment. They were not activists but sage observers. 

Then there were the turned-on doctors psychia- 
trists who had taken the trip, and came back hop- 
ing to fit the new potions into the medical game. 
Humphrey Osmond, witty, wise, cultured, had in- 
vented the name psychedelic and tolerantly won- 
dered how to introduce a harmony-ecstasy drug 
into an aggressive-puritanical social order. Sidney 
Cohen and Keith Ditman and Jim Watt and Abram 
Hofer and Nick Chewelos hoped to bring about a 
psychiatric renaissance and a new era of mental 
health with the new alchemicals. 

And there was that strange, intriguing, delightful 
cosmic magician called Al Hubbard, the rum-drink- 
ing, swashbuckling, Roman Catholic frontier sales- 
man who promoted uranium ore during the 40's 
and who took the trip and recognized that LSD 
was the fissionable material of the mind and who 
turned on Osmond and Hofer to the religious mys- 
tical meaning of their psychotomimetic drug. Al 
Hubbard set out to turn-on the world and flew 
from country to country with his leather bag full of 
drugs and claimed to have turned-on bishops and 
obtained nihil obstat from Pope John, and when the 
medical society complained that only doctors could 
give drugs, bought himself a doctor's degree from a 
Kentucky diploma mill and swept through northern 
California turning-on scientists and professors and 

It seems to make philos- 
ophy make sense. It aids 
consciousness to contem- 
plate itself and serve some 
of the most delightful func- 
tions of the mind. 

As if, turning up the volume 
on a receiving set, back- 
ground and FM stations can 
be heard. The effects are 
not unnatural. 

I have experienced similar 
things without use of chemi- 
cal catalysts, and corre- 
spond to what I, as a poet, 
have called previously aes- 
thetic, poetic, transcen- 
dental or mystical aware- 

A kind of useful, practical 
cosmic consciousness. I 
think it will help mankind 
to grow. 


112 00 To Turn-On the World 

JANUARY 1961: 

I spoke to Wilhelm De 
Kooning yesterday and he 
was ready to turn on, so 
please drop him an invita- 
tion too. 

I figure Kline, De Kooning, 
Monk and Gillespie are the 
most impressive quartet 
imaginable for you to turn- 
on at the moment, so will 
leave it at that for awhile, 
till they can be taken care 

I won't send you new 
names and work-trouble for 
awhile. Hope you can get 
these four letters off. 

I also wrote Osmond and 
Huxley asking them to con- 
nect Burroughs with Heim, 
or anyone in Paris. None of 
my business actually, but 
Koestler always struck me 
as a little ftard-hearted 

Hate myself to have him as a 
final curandero. That is, be- 
ing an intellectual, he tends 
to organize a polemic-dog- 
matic-mental system around 

As in his essay on Zen, 
which is very intelligent, but 
not so magnanimous. But 
by all means send him 
batches to hand out. 

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, 
they were all with one accord in one place. And 
suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a 
rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house 
where they were sitting. And there appeared unto 
them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon 
each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy 
Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as 
the spirit gave them utterance. And they were all 
amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, 
what meaneth this? Others mocking said, these men 
are full of new wine. 

Right from the beginning this dedicated group of 
ring-bearers was rent with a basic disagreement. 
There were those who said work within the system. 
Society has assigned the administration of drugs to 
the medical profession. Any non-doctor who gives 
or takes drugs is a dope fiend. Play ball with the 
system. Medicine must be the vanguard of the 
psychedelic movement. Capture the medical pro- 
fession. Cohen and Ditman and Al Hubbard and 
his two loyal, gifted lieutenants, Willis Harman and 
Myron Stolaroff, warned that any non-medical use 
of psychedelic drugs would create a new marijuana 
mess and set back research into the new utopia. 

The medical point of view made little sense to 
religious philosophers. Aldous Huxley called the 
psychedelic experience a gratuitous grace. His vi- 
brant flame-colored wife, Laura, agreed. So, in 
gentle tones, did Huston Smith and Alan Watts and 
Gerald Heard. 

And so did Allen Ginsberg, who had discovered 
the Buddha nature of drugs with Jack Kerouac and 
Gary Snyder and Bill Burroughs. 

I had been visited by most of the psychedelic 
eminences by this time and was under steady pres- 
sure to make the Harvard psychedelic research a 
kosher-medically-approved project. Everyone was 
aware of the potency of Harvard's name. Timothy, 
you are the key figure, said Dr. Al Hubbard; I'm 
just old deputy-dog Al at your service. But the 
message was clear: keep it respectable and medical. 

And now here was Allen Ginsberg, secretary 
general of the world's poets, beatniks, anarchists, 
socialists, free-sex/love cultists. 

December 1960 QO 113 

The sunny Sunday afternoon that we gave Allen 
Ginsberg the mushrooms started slowly. Rhona and 
Charlie were down in the kitchen by nine to start a 
cycle of breakfasts. First there were Jack Leary and 
his friend Bobbie who had spent the night. Bobbie 
went off to Mass. When I came down I found 
Donald, an uninvited raccoon hipster-painter from 
New York solemnly squatting at the table gnawing 
at toast and bacon. Frank Barron and the poets, 
Allen Ginsberg and Peter and Lafcadio Orlovsky 
remained upstairs and we moved around the 
kitchen with that Sunday morning hush not want- 
ing to wake the sleepers. Lafcadio, Peter's brother, 
was on leave from a mental hospital. 

About twelve-thirty the quiet exploded into fam- 
ily noise. Bobbie was back from church where he 
excitedly had told his father about the party we 
had given the night before for the Harvard football 
team and how I had given the boys, Bobbie and 
Jack, a dollar each for being bartenders. 

I toted up the political profit and loss from this 
development. The Harvard football team rang up a 
sale. But the boys bartending? Bobbie's father is 
Irish so that's all right. All okay. 

Then wham, the door opened and in flooded 
Susan Leary with three teen-age girls, through the 
kitchen, upstairs to get clothes, down to make a 
picnic lunch, up again for records, out and then 
back for the ginger ale. 

By now the noise had filtered upstairs and we 
could hear the late sleepers moving around and the 
bathroom waters running, and down came Frank 
Barron, half -awake, to fry codfish cakes for his 
breakfast. And then, Allen Ginsberg and Peter. 
Allen hopped around the room with nearsighted 
crow motions cooking eggs, and Peter sat silent 

After breakfast the poets fell to reading the 
Times and Frank moved upstairs to Susans room 
to watch a pro football game on TV and I told 
Allen to make himself at home and got beers and 
went up to join Frank. Donald the painter had been 
padding softly around the house watching with his 
big, soft creature eyes and sniffing in corners and at 
the bookcase and the record cabinets. He had asked 
to take mushrooms in the evening and was looking 

So H.S. fears the peril of 
mind let loose. Well I agree 
with you generally. But I 
have had that experience of 
absolute fear. 

Suppose it decides not to 
keep the body going? In 
Peru. It never recurred, but 
I can't guarantee it won't 
recur to me. 

That is, there was some- 
thing mysterious happening 
beyond what I know and 
later experienced. Each in- 
carnation is different. 

But at the time I was sure 
that if I really let go I would 
literally die, and that it 
might be a good idea. To 
get another dimension. 

But I wasn't so positive it 
was a good idea. Really 
fearfully confused. Maybe 
you could die, like a yoga 
or Buddha or something 
worse, or better? Who 

I mean who knows how 
deep the soul goes into the 
universe and what outright 
magic it can work? Like 
maybe leaving this body 
and going to a God-world 
or devil-world body? Liter- 

114 00 To Turn-On the World 

At least I haven't myself sur- 
mounted that superstition, if 
it is superstition, not un- 
canny awareness. So, I tend 
to feel mentally a hands- 
off policy, as far as making 
final judgment of what 
is actually psychologically 
happening to H.S. 

But I wasn't there. I gener- 
ally agree with your reac- 
tion, or I also tend to have 
your reaction as to Barney 
or H.S. 

Nonetheless, my knowledge 
of fact is not final. I've been 
operating as much on faith 
and hope in a way. 

Send me a bill for the mes- 
caline. No need for you to 

No news yet from Cuba, so 
I think it safe to send psilo- 
cybin here. I'll call you be- 
fore I leave, which may yet 
be another week if at all 
at this rate. 

Burroughs is in Paris. I 
wrote Huxley his address 
today with an explanatory 
note but if you have any 
means of connecting him 
with Heim or anyone there 
could you do so. 

for records of Indian peyote drum music. We told 
him to phone around to the local libraries. A friend 
of his, an anthropology student, could possibly 
locate some Indian records, and could he borrow 
the car and go to Cambridge? All his words came 
up halting, labored, serious, and I said sure go 

During the game, Jack Leary and his pals came 
in dressed in their football uniforms and watched 
the action for a while and then got bored and went 
up to the third-floor playroom. We kidded them 
about getting suited up like pigskin warriors and 
then sitting around inside and not playing. After 
the game Frank Barron rounded up Charlie and the 
boys and we went out behind the garage and had a 
game of touch football. The poets declined to play. 
At dusk we came in and started a long kitchen 
Sunday supper scene, cold ham and meat pies, 
highballs (but not for the poets). It was an agree- 
able kitchen chaos with everyone puttering around. 
Rhona and Charlie were sick with stomach flu and 
headed upstairs early. Lafcadio had stayed in bed 
most of the afternoon until Allen had gone up to 
tell him to come down and he sat in the corner 
quiet, impassive, eerie, probably thinking wonder- 
ful thoughts about the Martians landing on earth. 
He nodded every time we offered him food, and 
Allen would tell him to put his plates away and he 
would obey silently and mechanically. After the 
meal we asked Jack and Bobbie if they wanted to 
play catch in the upstairs hallway with Lafcadio 
and they said sure and ran off with Lafcadio lum- 
bering after them. There are ball marks on the 
white ceiling to this day and the wall lamp has 
never quite worked the same, but Allen said that 
the weekend was tremendous therapy for Lafcadio. 
He started talking more and it kept up for several 
weeks after they left. 

Allen Ginsberg, hunched over a teacup, peering 
out through his black-rimmed glasses, the left lens 
bisected by a break, started telling of his experi- 
ences with Ayahuasca, the fabled visionary vine of 
the Peruvian jungles. He had followed the quest of 
Bill Burroughs, sailing south for new realms of 
consciousness, looking for the elixir of wisdom. 
Sitting, sweating with heat, lonely in a cheap hotel 

December 1960 QO 115 

in Lima, holding a wad of ether-soa*ked cotton to 
his nose with his left hand and getting high and 
making poetry with his right hand and then travel- 
ing by second-class bus with Indians up through 
the Cordillera de los Andes and then more buses 
and hitchhiking into the Montana jungles and shin- 
ing rivers, wandering through steaming equatorial 
forests. Then the village Pucalpa, and the negotia- 
tions to find the curandero, paying him with aguar- 
diente, and the ritual itself, swallowing the bitter 
stuff, and the nausea and the colors and the drums 
beating and sinking down into thingless void, into 
the great eye that brings it all together, and the 
terror of the great snake coming, lying on the earth 
floor helpless and the great snake coming. The old 
curandero, wrinkled face bending over him and 
Allen telling him, culebra, and the curandero nod- 
ding clinically and blowing a puff of smoke to make 
the great snake disappear and it did. 

The fate of fire depends on wood; as long as there 
is wood below, the fire burns above. It is the same 
in human life; there is in man likewise a fate that 
lends power to his life. ( I Ching L ) 

I kept asking Allen questions about the curan- 
dero. I wanted to learn the rituals, to find out how 
other cultures (older and wiser than ours) had 
handled the visionary business. I was fascinated by 
the ritual thing. Ritual is to the science of con- 
sciousness what experiment is to external science. I 
was convinced that none of our American rituals fit 
the mushroom experience. Not the cocktail party. 
Not the psychiatrist. Not the teacher-minister role. I 
was impressed by what Allen said about his own 
fear and sickness whenever he took drugs and 
about the solace and comforting strength of the 
curandero, about how good it was to have someone 
there who knew, who had been to those far regions 
of the mind and could tell you by a look, by a 
touch, by a puff of smoke that it was all right, go 
ahead, explore the strange world, it's all right, you'll 
come back, it's all right, I'm here back on familiar 
old human earth when you need me, to bring you 

Allen told me about the training of curanderos. 

Perhaps send him an aca- 
demic letter of introduction 
which he could deliver to 
Heim? This got to be done 
soon, as Burroughs is on 
way East in a few weeks I 
think not sure. 

He writes he had some LSD 
in London, as well as an 
injection of another drug 
what, I dunno. He writes 
Don't flip pops is all. One 
must be careful of altitude 
sickness and depth mad- 
ness and the bends. Haz- 
ards of the silent world. 
Space is silent remember, 

Anyway, I'll let you know 
before I leave to Cuba. 
Send me what you can, if 
you can, when you can. 
Been finished with proofs of 
my book this week and do- 
ing some writing. 


116 00 To Turn-On the World 


Been paralyzed making de- 
cisions, so forgive me not 
writing last week till I fig- 
ured out what I wanted to 
do. Got letter and telegram 
from Corso in Athens sum- 
moning me to hurry up or 
he sez he'll take a boat to 

I replied I'd stand on Acrop- 
olis with him in a month 
if the gods please and he 
replied he'd wait then. 
Meanwhile, been running 
around in frenzy. 

Huncke now cured and tak- 
ing rest in Jacobi hospital 
for a few weeks in psycho 
ward with friendly doctors. 
He's free to come or go. 

Yvonne I've seen a number 
of times, took her out one 
night to LeRoi Jones and 
got drunk. She can't make 
up her mind what to do 
with her life wants some- 
one to depend on also 
wants independence, but 
she's spoiled and beautiful. 

Barney is polite too. I had 
talk with him mollified him 
by saying in sum, I thought 
it was a mistake to turn him 
and heron. 

The old witch doctor going off in the mountain for 
weeks with the young candidate and having him 
take the drug day after day, night after night, 
exploring all the corners and caves and hidden 
inlets of the visionary world the terrain of heaven 
and hell, the joy, the horror, the orgiastic peaks, the 
black burning swamps, the angels and the devil 
snakes until he had been there, all the way to the 
far reaches of awareness. Then he was equipped to 
act as curandero, to take care of visionary travelers, 
to understand the words and behavior which con- 
fuse and frighten the unprepared observer. 

Allen told of the therapeutic impact of the kind 
village doctor as he went through the age-old rit- 
uals of caring-for the hand on the shoulder, and 
cup of hot tea and the covering with blankets. I 
remembered back to a session when a lonely gradu- 
ate student fell to the carpet in anguished panic, 
and how Frank Barron the veteran front-line medic 
took over with cold compresses and kind words, 
and how the student never forgot his being there, 
doing the right thing at exactly the right time. 

Allen was going to take the mushrooms later that 
night and he was shaping me up to help him. Allen 
was weaving a word spell, dark eyes gleaming 
through the glasses, chain-smoking, moving his 
hands, intense, chanting trance poetry. Frank Bar- 
ron was in the study now, and with him Lafcadio 

Then a car came up the driveway and in a 
minute the door opened, and Donald, furry and 
moist, ambled in. He had brought his friend, an 
anthropology student from Harvard, to be with him 
when he tripped. Donald asked if his friend could 
be there during the mushroom session. I liked the 
idea of having a friend present for the mushrooms, 
someone to whom you could turn at those moments 
when you needed support, so I said sure, but he 
couldn't take the pills because he was a University 
student. Everyone was warning us to keep our 
research away from Harvard to avoid complications 
with the University Health Bureau and to avoid the 
rumors. He wasn't hungry so I mixed him a drink 
and then I got the little round bottle and pulled out 
the cotton topping and gave Donald 30 mg. and 

December 1960 CO 117 

Allen Ginsberg 36. several nights later at leary's 


Allen started bustling around getting his cave 
ready. I brought Susan's record player up to his 
room and he took some Beethoven and Wagner 
from the study and he turned out the lights so that 
there was just a glow in the room, took off all my 


him we'd be checking back every fifteen minutes 
and he^should tell me if he wanted anything. 

By the time I got downstairs Donald was already 
high, strolling around the house on dainty raccoon 
feet with his hands clasped behind his back, think- 
ing and digging deep things, as my awareness 


universe. I stayed in the study writing letters, read- 
ing the Times. I had forgotten about the anthropol- 
ogy student. He was waiting in the kitchen, i felt 


After about thirty minutes I found Donald in the 
hallway. He called me over earnestly and began 
talking about the artificiality of civilization. He was 
thinking hard about basic issues and it was obvious 
what was going on with him clearing his mind of 
abstractions, trying to get back behind the words 
and concepts, suddenly, however, realized they 


And if he succeeds in assigning the right place to 
life and to fate, thus bringing the two into har- 
mony, he puts his fate on a firm footing. These 
words contain hints about the fastening of life as 
handed on by oral tradition in the secret teachings 
of Chinese yoga. ( I Ching L ) 

The anthropology student was standing by, 
watching curiously and Donald asked if he minded 

Otherwise he'll get into a 
big battle over the word 
mistake. So I guess they'll 
just go on as before and 
workout their fate. 

Only way I can see other- 
wise is taking over Yvonne 
entirely, me marrying her or 
something. (Don't think she 
didn't suggest it.) She still 
wants him. 

We just barged in on the 
middle of some insoluble 
modern romance. I dunno, 
how to resolve the mush- 
room politics of this, with- 
out their resolving their own 

So far it all seems quieted 
down. I really want to get 
out of U.S. and go to 
Greece and begin Orient 
voyages, etc. A lot of things 
keep me here now, the 
mushroom work, people 
who depend on me, like 

(Or people who I think de- 
pend on me, etc.) But I'd 
like to be alone and start 
a new phase, awhile. 

I can write, either way, here 
or there, it's not so much 
a problem of having soli- 
tude for poetry, it's just I 
feel like taking off, boop- 

118 00 To Turn-On the World 

Meanwhile I've been con- 
spiring with everyone I can 
reach in N.Y. the last weeks 
to do something about the 
general dope problem. 

Various other people work- 
ing on other different 
angles. Yesterday got on 
TV with N. Mailer and Ash- 
ley Montague and gave big 
speech attacking Narco 
Dept and recommending 
everybody get high be on 
locally in N.Y. Sunday after 
this, if they don't suppress 
the program. 

Montague is an old woman, 
but he cooperated a bit. 
Maybe I'll go on Mike Wal- 
lace show. They asked me 

Also making an appoint- 
ment with Eleanor Roose- 
velt to try to interest her in 
the social problem. Met her 
and Martin Luther King at 
Dorothy Norman's last night. 

Got lunch date with Rev. 
Norman Eddy of East Har- 
lem Protestant parish this 
Tuesday. He's the big dope 

Didn't mention mushrooms 
in all of this, for tactful 
reasons. Best keep that on 
its own high level. 

leaving so that he could talk to me privately. An- 
thro went back to the kitchen and Donald con- 
tinued talking about the falseness of houses and 
machines and deploring the way man cut himself 
off from the vital stuff with his engines and struc- 
tures. I was trying to be polite and be a good 
curandero and support him and tell him, great boy, 
stay with it and work it out. 

Susan came back from her friend's about this 
time and went upstairs to her homework, and I 
followed her up to check on Allen. He was lying on 
top of the blanket. His glasses were off and his 
black eyes, pupils completely dilated, looked up at 
me. Looking down into them they seemed like two 
deep, black, wet wells and you could look down 
them way through the man Ginsberg to something 
human beyond. The eye is such a defenseless, 
naive, trusting thing, professor leary came into 


Allen was scared and unhappy and sick. And still 
he was lying there voluntarily, patiently searching, 
pushing himself into panics and fears, into nausea, 
trying to learn something, trying to find meaning. 
Shamelessly weak and shamelessly human and 
greatly classic. Peter was lying next to him, eyes 
closed, sleeping or listening to the record, i got 


Allen asked me what I thought of him and his 
situation. I leaned over and looked down into the 
black liquid eyes, fawn's eyes, man's eyes, and told 
him that he was a great man and that it was good 
to know him. He reached up his hand. Can I get 
you anything, Allen? No thanks. I'll be back in a 
while. He nodded, orlovsky was naked in red 


December 1960 00 119 

On the way downstairs I checked by Susan's 
room. She was curled up on the carpet, with her 
books scattered around her and reading in the 
shadows. I scolded her about ruining her eyes and 
flicked on the two wall bulbs. Downstairs Frank 
was still at the study desk, suddenly out of the 


room. Anthro was wandering in the living room and 
told me that Donald had gone outside. The rule we 
set up was that no one would leave the house and 
the idea of Donald padding down Beacon Street in 
a mystic state chilled me. like the horns of judg- 

itself the consciousness. Out on the front porch I 
turned on the two rows of spotlights that flooded 
the long winding stone stairs and started down, 
shielding my eyes and shouting Donald. Halfway 
down I heard him answering back and saw him 
standing under an oak tree on the lower lawn. I 
asked him how he was but he didn't talk,, just stood 
there looking wise and deep, seemed as if all the 


the universe. He was barefoot and higher than 
Picard's balloon. I want to talk to you, but first you 
must take off your shoes. Okay, why not? I sat 
down to unlace my shoes and he squatted along- 
side and told about how the machines complicate 
our lives and how cold and hot were abstractions 
and how we didn't really need houses and shoes 
and clothes because it was just our concepts that 
made us think we needed these things. I agreed 
with him and followed what his mind was doing, 
suspending for a moment the clutch of the abstract 
but at the same time shivering from the November 
wind and wanting to get back behind the warm 
glow of the windows, milton's lucifer flashed 


The young anthropology student was standing in 
the hallway. I told him that Donald was doing fine, 
great mystical stuff, philosophizing without con- 

Otherwise might get mixed 
up with beatnikism. You 
sure got a lot of energy. 

I dunno, but I think it 
would help the mushroom 
atmosphere lots if there 
were a general U.S. re- 
thinking (as the N.Y. Times 
friend says) on the dope 
social problem. 

Lindesmith and Indiana U 
Press are putting out this 
joint report of interim com- 
mittee of AMA and Amer. 
Bar Assn. So I got in touch 
with all the liberal pro-dope 
people I know to have it 
publicized and circulated 
and have all of them inter- 
connect to exchange infor- 

I wrote a five-page sum- 
mary of situation to this 
friend Kenny Love on the 
N.Y. Times and he said he'd 
perhaps do a story (news- 
wise) on the book, which 
could then be picked up by 
UP friend on national wire. 

Also gave copy to Al 
Aronowitz on N.Y. Post and 
Rosalind Constable at Time 
and Bob Silvers on Harpers 
magazine and informed 
Yugen, Evergreen, Big 
Table, Metronome. 

120 00 To Turn-On the World 

Meanwhile Indiana U people 
are working on Commen- 
tary, The Nation, etc. Regu- 
lar network. Also got a copy 
of La Guardia Report to 
Grove Press. 

They will republish it with 
additional stronger ma- 
terial. Maybe Dan Wakefield 
edit a book. 

. . . just got your Feb. 1 
letter. Glad you heard the 
Howl record. That never got 

So, I also got to work this 
month arranging advertise- 
ments for that Fantasy Rec- 
ord Co. Is very inert unless 
I prod them. 

If that begins selling some- 
time this year, with Kaddish 
out in a month, I'll have 
plenty loot for Europe and 
Asia and Lafcadio too. 

I won't, therefore, be able 
to make the Harvard mush- 
room seminar week I'm 
sorry don't let it bug you. 

I don't know exactly when 
I'm leaving yet but it's got 
to be around the first week 
in March. Peter and I will 
come up to Harvard for 
weekend before we leave 

cepts. He looked puzzled. He didn't want a drink or 
food. I walked upstairs and found the door to 
Allen's room closed. I waited for a while, not 
knowing what to do and then knocked softly and 
said softly, Allen I'm here now and will be back in a 
few minutes. Paradise Lost, a book i'd never under- 


Susan was sitting cross-legged on her bed brush- 
ing her hair when there came a patter of bare feet 
on the hallway carpet. I got to the door just in time 
to see naked buttocks disappearing down the stair- 
way. It was Peter. I was grinning when I went back 
to Susan. Peter is running around without any 
clothes on. Susan picked up her paraphernalia- 
curlers, brush, pins, and trotted up to the third 
floor. I headed downstairs. 


the study Frank was leaning back in his chair 
behind the desk grinning quizzically. In front of the 
desk looking like medieval hermits were Allen and 
Peter both stark naked, i went in among the psy- 

happen action, revolution. No, Allen had on his 
glasses and as I came in he peered out at me and 
raised his finger in the air. Hey, Allen, what goes 
on? Allen had a holy gleam in his eye and he waved 
his finger. I'm the Messiah. I've come down to 
preach love to the world. We're going to walk 
through the streets and teach people to stop hating. 


Well, Allen, that sounds like a pretty good idea. 
Listen, said Allen, do you believe that I'm the 
Messiah, the naked body being the hidden sign. 
Look, I can prove it. I'm going to cure your hear- 
ing. Take off your hearing machine. Your ears are 

December 1960 00 121 

cured. Come on, take it off, you don't need it. and 


Frank was still smiling. Peter was standing by 
watching seriously. The hearing aid was dumped 
on the desk. That's right. And now your glasses, I'll 
heal your vision too. The glasses were laid on the 


Allen was peering around with approval at his 
healing. But Allen, one thing. What? Your glasses. 
You're still wearing them. Why don't you cure your 
own vision. Allen looked surprised. Yes, you're 
right. I will. He took off his glasses and laid them 
on the desk, take over from the cosmic police 


Now Allen was a blind messiah squinting around 
to find his followers, atom bomb apocalypses. 
Come on. We're going down to the city streets to 
tell the people about peace and love. And then we'll 
get lots of great people onto a big telephone net- 
work to settle all this warfare bit. got as far as 


Fine, said Frank, but why not do the telephone 
bit first, right here in the house. Frank was heading 
off the pilgrimage down the avenue naked, remem- 

Who we gonna call, said Peter. Well, we'll call 
Kerouac on Long Island, and Kennedy and Khru- 
shchev and Bill Burroughs in Paris and Norman 
Mailer in the psycho ward in Bellevue. We'll get 
them all hooked up in a big cosmic electronic love 
talk. War is just a hang-up. We'll get the love-thing 
flowing on the electric Bell telephone network. 


Please don't be mad at me 
for taking off and leaving 
you holding the bag with 
so much on your mind. In 
the long run I do much 
better in anonymous goof- 
ing and writing than being 
Allen Ginsberg politicking. 

I get the impression that the 
general psychic fog in the 
U.S. may be lifting. Also 
wrote a stern appeal for 
drugs into the GAP con- 
ference report, which'll be 
published by them. 

Said they should invite 
some Amazon curanderos 
for their next conference. 
Do you want or need, or 
does the situation actually 
need, that I stay longer here 
and make the Harvard con- 

I feel that if I stay I'll just 
keep staying and Gregory 
is calling, etc. If he comes 
here it'll be a ball, but it'll 
be a year or half-year be- 
fore we can go again. 

Prison sounds great. Don't 
give mushrooms to junkies 
who are just in physiological 
process (first weeks) of 
kicking. Burroughs says in 
an article it would be pure 

122 00 To Turn-On the World 

Physical pains, maybe get 
magnified. Kaufman said 
he'd already sent you ma- 
terial didn't it arrive? I 
told him you'd not received 

Which Osmond handbook 
on LSD? On giving LSD? 
Was that one of the papers 
I had? 

In confusion I gave all 
papers to a Dr. Joe Gibbs, 
young psychiatrist who's 
had mescaline including 
your poem-paper, before I 
had read it. Can you send 
me another? 

Who's the Boston poet? I 
wound up imitating Kerouac 
too, for a week. He sounds 
fine on phone. I think that 
weekend did him perma- 
nent good, sort of made 
him more resolved and 

Your letter very lovely, 
makes me feel like a mes- 
siah running out on the 
cross part. I was always a 
little ashamed of the love 
poem for being so schmaltzy 
and schwarmerai and vague 
and abstract. 

The America reading is a 
combination of different 
readings pieced on tape 
I wanted to get campy 
tones into it, burlesque hor- 
ror and goo-goo eyes. 

last five years. Who we gonna call first, said 
Peter. Let's start with Khrushchev, said Allen. 
Look, why don't we start with Kerouac on Long 


join me immediately. In the meantime, let's pull 
the curtains, said Frank. There's enough going on 
in here so I don't care about looking outside, he 


picked up the white telephone and dialed Operator. 
The two thin figures leaned forward wrapped up in 
a holy fervor trying to spread peace. The dear 
noble innocent helplessness of the naked body. 
They looked as though they had stepped out of a 
quatrocento canvas, apostles, martyrs, dear fanatic 
holy men. Allen said, Hello, operator, this is God, I 
want to talk to Kerouac. felt equal to including 


want to talk? Kerouac. What's my name? This is 
God. G.O.D. Okay. We'll try Capitol 7-0563. 
Where? Northport, Long Island. There was a 
pause. We were all listening hard. Oh. Yes. That's 
right. That's the number of the house where I was 
born. Look, operator, I'll have to go upstairs to get 
the number. Then I'll call back, he said, i don't 


Allen hung up the receiver. What was all that 
about, Allen? Well, the operator asked me my name 
and I said I was God and I wanted to speak to 
Kerouac and she said, I'll try to do my best, sir, but 
you'll have to give me his number and then I gave 
her the number of my mother's house. I've got 
Kerouac's number upstairs in my book. Just a min- 
ute and I'll get it. 

Allen hopped out of the room, and Peter the 
Hermit lit a cigarette. I took advantage of the time 
out to check on the third floor. Susan was sitting on 
the floor of the TV room sticking bobby pins in her 
curlers. Rhona was lying on the couch watching a 
program. Charlie said, Hey, what's going on down 
there? Allen says he is God and he, and Peter are 
naked and are phoning around to Kennedy and 
Kerouac. Naked? Both of them? Rhona and Charlie 
giggled. Rhona had been troubled by the poets' old 

December 1960 00 123 

clothes and felt that they hadn't been bathing. Hey, 
said Rhona, if they're really naked why don't you 
get them to jump under a shower. Good God, 
Rhona, with all this celestial business breaking out 
how can you get hung up on personal hygiene. 
Charlie got up from the easy chair. Naked, huh? 
This is something I can't miss. Dad-burn-it, I'm 
going down to catch this show. 

Charlie followed down to the study. The two 
saints were standing gaunt and biblical by the desk. 
Allen was shouting in the telephone to Jack, i said, 

VERSATION soon ended. He wanted Jack to come up 
to Cambridge and then he wanted Jack's mother to 
come too. Jack had a lot to say because Allen held 
the phone listening for long spaces, i heard he 


result. Charlie was standing with his feet apart 
watching. Frank was still sitting behind the desk 
smiling. Donald and the anthro student were stand- 
ing in the hallway looking in curiously. I walked 
over to explain, i had feeling if i weakened in 
energy the scheme would fail. Allen says he is the 
Messiah and he's calling Kerouac to start a peace 
and love movement. Donald wasn't interested. He 
went on telling me about the foolishness of believ- 
ing in hot and cold. It occurred to me that Allen 
and Peter were proving his point, if i ate or shit 

MAN. The phone call continued and finally I walked 
back in and said, Hey Allen, for the cost of this 
phone call we could pay his way up here by plane. 
Allen shot an apologetic look and then I heard him 
telling Jack, Okay Jack, I have to go now, but you've 
got to take the mushrooms and let's settle this 
quarrel between Kennedy and Khrushchev, but 



Peter were sitting on the big couch in the living 
room and Allen was telling us about his visions, 
cosmic electronic networks, and how much it meant 
to him that I told him he was a great man and how 
this mushroom episode had opened the door to 

Can you send me copy of 
Amer Psych Assn Speech? 
I been typing all day and 
also on junk want to lie 
down and rest and think 
so sign off. 

Peter working 12 hours a 
day as messenger in snow 
to get up some more 
Europe loot. 

If we're starving in India, 
we'll send you big demand- 
ing telegrams taking you up 
on your offer. 

I gave 15 mushrooms to 
Thelonious Monk and he 
wanted to be alone with 
family in his house. I spoke 
to him on phone 5 hours 
later and he was fine. 

No report from him yet, I'll 
send that as soon as pos- 
sible. David Solomon is a 
good guy, but he is long- 
winded, an ex-political Red 
intellectual who's got hu- 

He's given mescaline out, 
so I guess he can do it 
safely. I don't know if for- 
mal center need can be set 
up in N.Y. till the fungus 
spreads from Cambridge 
academy to N.Y. academy. 

124 00 To Turn-On the World 

You have all the equipment 
for working with security 
there, that's the best it 
will spread on its own once 
some N.Y. psychiatrist 
meets up with you. 

Glad Schultes is friendly. 
Never did meet him. I've got 
to lie down awhile write 
me a note I hope my de- 
parture won't bring you 
down is it alright if I go? 
Tell me. 

Janine not taken mush- 
rooms yet. I have 23 left 
I gave 8 to a painter friend. 
All the young kids lately 
are shooting (needle) a 
drug called methedrine . . . 

. . . an amphetamine semi- 
hallucinogen haven't tried 
it yet. It's all the vogue. 

See I don't know if I 
should stay here and rave 
and scream politically and 
give big Carnegie Hall read- 
ings and Harvard readings 
but I think a quiet silly 
trip to Greece would be bet- 
ter in the long run. 


women and heterosexuality and how he could see 
new womanly body visions and family life ahead. 


down and rest. Peter's hand was moving back and 
forth on Allen's shoulder. It was the first time that 
he had stood up to Jack and he was sorry about the 
phone bill but wasn't it too bad that Khrushchev 
and Kennedy couldn't have been on the line and, 
hey, what about Norman Mailer in that psychiatric 
ward in Bellevue, shouldn't we call him. and saw 


I don't think they'd let a call go through to him, 
Allen. Well, it all depends on how we come on. I 
don't think coming on as Allen Ginsberg would 
help in that league. I don't think coming on as the 
Messiah would either. Well, you could come on as 
big psychologists and make big demanding noises 
about the patient. It was finally decided that it was 
too much trouble. 

Still curandero, I asked if they wanted anything 
to eat or drink. Well, how about some hot milk. 


human. Allen and Peter went upstairs to put on 
robes and I put some cold milk in a pan and turned 
on the stove. Donald was still moving around softly 
with his hands behind his back. Thinking. Watch- 
ing. He was too deep and Buddha for us to swing 
with and I later realized that I hadn't been a very 
attentive curandero for him and that there was a 
gulf between Allen and him never closed and that 
the geographic arrangement was too scattered to 
make a close loving session. Of course, both of 
them were old drug hands and ready to go off on 
their own private journeys and both wanted to 
make something deep and their own. 

Anthro's role in all of this was never clear. He 
stood in the hallway watching curiously but for the 
most part we ignored him, treated him as an object 
just there but not involved and that, of course, was 
a mistake. Any time you treat someone as an object 
rest assured he'll do the same and that was the way 
that score was going to be tallied. 

We ended up with a great scene in the kitchen. I 

December 1960 00 125 

bustled around pouring the hot milk into cups, and 
the poets sat around the table looking like Giotto 
martyrs in checkered robes. Lafcadio came down 
and we got him some food and he nodded yes 
when I asked him about ice cream and Allen 
started to talk about his visions and about the drug 
scene in New York and, becoming eloquent, wound 
up preaching with passion about the junkies, help- 
less, hooked, lost, thin, confused creatures, sick and 
the police and the informers, i saw the best minds 


fix. And then we started planning the psychedelic 
revolution. Allen wanted everyone to have the 
mushrooms. Who has the right to keep them from 
someone else? And there should be freedom for all 
sorts of rituals, too. angelheaded hipsters burning 


doctors could have them and there should be 
curanderos, and all sorts of good new holy rituals 
that could be developed and ministers have to be 
involved. Although the church is naturally and 
automatically opposed to mushroom visions, still 
the experience is basically religious and some minis- 
ters would see it and start using them. But with all 
these groups and organizations and new rituals, 
there still had to be room for the single, lone, 
unattached, non-groupy individual to take the 
mushrooms and go off and follow his own rituals- 
brood big cosmic thoughts by the sea or roam 
through the streets of New York, high and restless, 
thinking poetry, and writers and poets and artists to 
work out whatever they were working out. who 


But all this was going to be hard to bring about. 
What a political struggle! Think of all the big 
powerful forces lined up ready to crush anything 
wonderful and holy and free the big fascist busi- 
nessmen and the people who wanted to start a war 
against Russia and crush Castro, who cowered in 


MARCH 1961: 

Still hoping to come up, 
but can't figure it till I settle 
other things leaving ar- 
rangements, filing all pa- 
pers, etc. Glad Burroughs 
will be back at Harvard. 

It's hard trying to turn off 
faucet of correspondence. 
The FCC complained to 
John Crosby about my TV 
speech and after network 
pressure Crosby let them 
play a 7-minute rebuttal last 
weekend, lots of crap. 

I also hear Paul Goodman 
and N. Podhoretz are form- 
ing some kind of committee 
for intelligent action which 
has as program various 
things such as sex freedom 
and drug freedom. 

A young girl approached 
me and transmitted a sug- 
gestion from Goodman that 
I go to jail in passive re- 
sistance action on mari- 
juana. Sounds like a good 
deal, actually. 

I told her I was going to 
Greece tho, so couldn't. 
They're having a meeting 
tonight at Debs Hall just 
like the 20's. 

126 00 To Turn-On the World 

The Times refused to run a 
series on Fed Narco Bureau 
but Harrison Salisbury is 
now lobbying to find why; 
and they did agree to run 
the Lindesmith-Ploscowe re- 
port in summary when it 
does come out and various 
Chicago and SF papers are 
now interested too. 

I think people at Living The- 
ater and Goodman and 
others soon will prepare 
some sort of intellectual's 
petition to free pot from 

I'll write Dr. Spiegel. Rev. 
John Snow of Gould Farm 
asked for your address, 
says he been reading up on 
subject and now wants to 
try LSD or mushrooms. I'll 
send it to him. 

Looks like your own area 
is very sunny and I think it 
will remain so. 


terror through the wall. And all the sadistic little 
men who get together in groups like the American 
Legion and the white supremacy councils, and of 
course all the people who had their own little 
autocratic empires going who would be threatened 
if people really began to see with mushroom hon- 
esty, and finally and always there the police ready 
to investigate and arrest and indict and bully and 
keep people in jail because they want to live quiet 
lives of freedom and poetry, who reappeared on 


As Allen talked nearsighted Marx-Trotsky-Paine 
poetry, there was always the Terror just back there 
a bit. Terror of Moloch, moloch! moloch! robot 

TRAL nations! invincible madhouses! granite 
cocks! monstrous bombs I Terror of the Nazi na- 
tional Golgotha. Terror of the void. Terror of death. 
Terror of Rockland State Hospital madness. Terror 
of the void. Terror of the long coiled snake of Peru 
slithering up closer with the slit-eye of destruction. 


The present hexagram refers to the cultural 
superstructure of society. Here it is the wood that 
serves as nourishment for the flame, the spirit. 

La Barre is lovely guy 
hope you meet him some- 
where. Jack moved his 
mama to Florida, so's out 
of town. 

Harry Smith and Phipps are 
negotiating and I've now 
dropped out since they 
seem to be able to handle 
it all between them O.K. 
Haven't heard results. 


Ginsberg hunched over the kitchen table, shabby 
robe hiding his thin white nakedness, cosmic politi- 
cian. Give them the mystic vision. They'll see it's 
good and honest and they'll say so publicly and 
then no one from the police or the narcotics bureau 
can put them down. And you're the perfect persons 
to do it. Big serious scientist professors from Har- 
vard. That's right. I can't do it. I'm too easy to put 
down. Crazy beatnik poet. Let me get my address 

December 1960 00 127 

book. I've got lots of connections in New York and 
we'll go right down the list and turn them all on. 



Allen Ginsberg, cosmic crusader, running a world- 
wide campaign out of a small Lower East Side 
cold-water flat, helping a man in Scotland start a 
literary magazine by sending him poems from a 
dozen undiscovered youngsters in blue jeans, anx- 
ious but irrepressible, protected only by the honest 
nakedness. Allen Ginsberg, Zen master politician. 


Allen explaining his nakedness. When men set 
out to kill and bully they dress up. Suit of armor. 
Combat boots. Uniforms, i'm trying to come to 


Allen Ginsberg the social-worker politician ex- 
plaining the sex-drug-freedom-ecstasy movement. 


gives peace, relief from pain and a shattering cos- 
mic detachment. But the relief is so brief and 
detachment so ruthlessly physical that the very 
weak and the very selfish get hooked. Junkies are 
the confused and helpless victims of a one-sided 
game they started with the police, my mind is 


the thankless task of helping the tormented ego- 
centricity of the junkie? Long subway rides around 
Manhattan to borrow money to get the junkie to a 
doctor. America i am addressing you. Endless calls 
on the delicatessen pay phone to arrange help. 
Locking yourself in a dingy hotel room to spend the 
next two days helping the sweating, writhing body 
kick its sickness. And the ceaseless politicking. Lin- 
ing up all the little magazines and the friendly 
reporters to give a favorable review to the Indiana 
University book which shows the cruelty and futil- 
ity of our drug laws. America this is quite serious. 
Rushing uptown to the television show where you 
tell the American public they should get high on 

Lafcadio is taking danc- 
ing lessons great twice a 
week turns out pretty 
graceful and light on his 

I'm reading Wilhelm Reich 
and I think he's really 
great. You ever pick up on 

. . . to translate in your 
terms, says the formation 
of abstractions sets in after 
crippling of the primary 
non-abstract body function, 
genital communication . . . 

. . . the genital embrace be- 
ing total annihilation of in- 
dividuation and formation 
of a new third being of two 
separate identities . . . 

. . . if the individual is 
blocked from experience of 
that communism all other 
reactions (and mental life) 
will be screwed up, and he 
describes thus, the origin 
of the worldwide emotional 

Farrar Straus stocks all his 
previously banned books 
see the Murder of Christ. 
Dave Solomon gave LeRoi 
Jones the mushrooms finally 
very good results too. 


128 00 To Turn-On the World 

APRIL 1961: 

Got your letter all sounds 
smashing good show there. 
Saw Monk play beautifully 
in Olympia theater in Paris, 
but didn't see him except 
on stage a monk. 

I receive mail safely at 
American Express, 11 Rue 
Scribe, Paris, France. If you 
have a sufficient supply, I 
would like to have some 
mushrooms or LSD. 

I am looking for French 
connection, no success yet 
but have not looked inten- 
sively. Can use all you can 

Burroughs is in Tangier, 
c/o U.S. Consulate. He or 
Brian Gysin et my mush- 
rooms. I'll go down to visit 
Burroughs as soon as fi- 
nancially able. 

. . . All three of us down 
to $80.00, but there will be 
loot coming in. We got offer 
from Gerodias of Olympia 
to be editors of a big time 
sexual magazine, free hand 
with vast salaries and print 
anything mad we want. 


thirties the fight to save the poor. In the forties the 
fight to save the Jews. In the fifties the fight to save 
the junkie. In the sixties we'll save the world, its 


Now Allen Ginsberg, stooping over the kitchen 
table peering at his address book. There's Robert 
Lowell and Muriel Rukyser. And Kerouac, of 
course, and LeRoi Jones. And Dizzy Gillespie and 
Thelonious Monk. And the painters. And the pub- 
lishers. He was chanting out names of the famous 
and the talented. He was completely serious, dedi- 
cated, wound up in the crusade, i'm nearsighted 


And so Allen spun out the cosmic campaign. He 
was to line up influentials and each weekend I 
would come down to New York and we'd run 
mushroom sessions. This fit our Harvard research 
plans perfectly. Our aim there was to learn how 
people reacted, to test the limits of the drug, to get 
creative and thoughtful people to take them and 
tell us what they saw and what we should do with 
the mushrooms. Allen's political plan was appeal- 
ing, too. I had seen enough and read enough in 
Spanish of the anti-vision crowd, the power-holders 
with guns, and the bigger and better men we got 
on our team the stronger our position. And then 
too, the big-name bit was intriguing. Meeting and 
sharing visions with the famous. 

The ritual was to be the curandero sequence. 
These people will have more confidence in you than 
in me, said Allen. The wise-guide ritual sounded 
good. The cause was right and the contract benefi- 
cial to all concerned. We were after all offering a 
free round-trip ticket for the greatest journey 
known to man. From this moment on my days as a 
respectable establishment scientist were numbered. 
I just couldn't see the new society given birth by 
medical hands. Or psychedelic sacraments as psy- 
chiatric tools. From this evening on my energies 
were offered to the ancient underground society of 
alchemists, artists, mystics, alienated visionaries, 
drop-outs and the disenchanted young, the sons 

130 00 To Turn-On the World 

Gregory wants to, I'm hesi- 
tating, Peter still wants 
India directly. If I accept it 
means being tied down 
here in Europe a year or 
two, but also weirdest cen- 
tury literary mag yet. I 

For a while the hobbits continued to talk and think 
of the past journey and of the perils tliat lay ahead; 
but such was the virtue of the land of Rivendell 
that soon all fear and anxiety was lifted from their 
minds. The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, 
but ceased to have any power over the present. 
(The Lord of the Rings) 

I'll probably be around here 
when you come in June. 
Send me forms to fill out 
as I gave mushrooms to 
Gregory. Gysin has filled 
out and will send you his. 

I don't know him well, and 
no intimate contact with 
him emotionally, tho Bur- 
roughs thinks we should dig 
each other. 

Gysin has invented a great 
flicker machine. Dig this 
cut out 10 apertures on a 
stovepipe hat or piece of 
cardboard and set it re- 
volving on phonograph at 
33 speed. 

It flickers and is homemade 
strobe. I looked in it it 
sets up optical fields as reli- 
gious and mandalic as the 
hallucinogenic drugs liter- 

. . . (look in with eyes 
closed) it's like being able 
to have jewelled biblical de- 
signs and landscapes with- 
out taking chemicals. Amaz- 

It was around midnight. Donald still seemed 
high and would walk in and out of the room, 
silently, hands behind his back, Talmudic raccoon, 
studying the kitchen crowd seriously, and then 
padding out. The anthropology student had joined 
us around the table. We had given him something 
to drink and he was listening to the conversation 
and saying nothing. He made some comment about 
schedules back to Cambridge and it was time for 
him to make the last train so I drove him down to 
the station. He asked some questions about the 
scientific meaning of the mushroom research and it 
was clear that he didn't understand what had hap- 
pened and what we were doing. There wasn't time 
to explain and I felt badly that he had been 
dragged into a strange situation. We had made the 
rule that people could bring their friends when they 
took the mushrooms and this seemed like a good 
idea for the person taking the mushrooms but it 
was just beginning to dawn on me that the problem 
never was with the person taking the drug but 
rather the people who didn't. Like Brother Toriblo 
the Spanish monk, who talked about cruelty and 
drunkenness caused by the Sacred Mushrooms. It's 
okay to bring a friend, but he should take the 
mushrooms with you. And poor anthro, it turned 
out, wasn't even a friend of Donald's and as it 
turned out didn't like him and he was clearly 
bewildered by and critical of what he had seen and 
heard and the nakedness of the poets. His train was 
about due and I was too preoccupied by what 
Allen had been saying to feel like explaining to 
anthro. The uneasy feeling persisted and I sug- 
gested that he not tell people about the mystic 
visions and the naked crusaders because this might 
be misunderstood and he said he wouldn't talk 
about it and we shook hands and he left. 

That was Sunday night. 

December 1960 00 131 

By Monday afternoon the rumors were spreading 
around the Harvard yard. 

Beatniks. Orgies. Naked poets. Junkies. Homo- 
sexuality. Drug parties. Tried to lure a decent naive 
graduate student into sin. Wild parties masquerad- 
ing as research. Queers. Beards. Criminal types. 

The chairman of my department called me. What 
the hell is going on, Tim? Two graduate students 
have come to me indignant demanding that your 
work be stopped. 

I laughed. I'll send you the reports from the 
session as soon as they are typed. It was a good 
session. God would approve. We're learning a lot. 

The disapproving gaze of the establishment was on 
us. You should fear the wary eyes of the servants 
of Sauron were the words of Elrond. I do not doubt 
that news . . . has already reached him, and he 
will be filled with wrath. Naked poets, indeed! 

It works. Gysin says the 
apertures have to be mea- 
sured and adjusted right to 
get 16 flickers a second or 

He also paints the inside 
of the stovepipe-cardboard. 
Of course, you have to drop 
an electric bulb, I forgot it, 
in the center of it to flicker 
thru apertures. 

I'll try to connect him with 
a toy manufacturer home- 
made optic movies possible. 

From this time on we saw ourselves as unwitting 
agents of a social process that was far too powerful 
for us to control or to more than dimly understand. 
An historical movement that would inevitably 
change man at the very center of his nature, his 

We did sense that we were not alone. The quest 
for internal freedom, for the elixir of life, for the 
drought of immortal revelation was not new. We 
were part of an ancient and honorable fellowship 
which had pursued this journey since the dawn of 
recorded history. We began to read the accounts of 
earlier trippers Dante, Hesse, Rene Daumal, Tol- 
kien, Homer, Blake, George Fox, Swedenborg, 
Bosch, and the explorers from the Orient tantrics, 
Sufis, Bauls, Gnostics, hermetics, Sivites, saddhus. 
No, we were not alone. 

Nor were we isolated in the twentieth century. 
The three groups who always await and accept the 
revelation which comes in every historical time 
were present in full and goodly numbers. The 
young (who always want more and have no game 
to protect ) , the artists ( who always hunger for the 
ecstatic moment), and the alienated (the wise 
slaves and noble minority groups watching from 
the periphery of the society ) . 

Burroughs' present cut 
up operates in theory on 
similar flicker principle 
trying to play his words 
over and over flashing in 
different combos to perhaps 
set up a 3-D field in imagi- 
nation or some other practi- 
cal level. 

Interesting experiment and 
more grounded in practical 
constructive purpose than I 
had grasped thought be- 
fore it was just a negative 
thing to cut up life or re- 
combine words artistically. 

Can you send me a pack of 
psilocybin? and also send 
the forms, they'll be filled 
out. Here is Peter, who a 
half-hour ago shot 250 of 
mescaline into his vein with 
a needle. 

132 00 To Turn-On the World 

First, yes, also, I saw 
Michaux who has just fin- 
ished a book on his ex- 
periments with mushroom 
pills too nice old man 
says it's all in you and no 
outside forces or gods 
too . . . 

Peter Orlovski: Yes, it's all 
an inward force, we are all 
God, so being God it feels 
very nice to shoot up mes- 
caline in the vein which I 
just did two hours ago 
got laid last night so many 
girls here. Now that I am 
high, would like to see this 

. . . but it's being fixed 
so at the moment the world 
seems very physical and all 
the physicalness going 
somewhere soup on the 
stove it all boils down to 
ass and roses on the table 
you been able to turn-on 
Kennedy's brother yet? 
Kennedy real mean to Cas- 
tro and acting so stupid . . . 

. . . instead of making 
friends he's giving me a 
bad name help hey Ken- 
nedy, why don't you get 
laid instead of fucking 
around with politics? So 
Tim, I've been studying 
French here and going to 
gym with a funny hard-on. 

The success of the psychedelic movement was 
guaranteed. The energies released by the sacred 
drugs were too great to suppress. 

We began to see it as a question of time. The 
movement would grow like everything organic 
grows, cell by cell. Friend turning-on friends. Hus- 
bands turning-on wives. Teachers turning-on stu- 
dents. The contagion of contiguity. The tissue 

Shortly after Allen Ginsberg left, we made statis- 
tical predictions about the growth of the psyche- 
delic movement. We drew a cumulative percentage 
graph and hung it on the wall. The rapidly ascend- 
ing curve spelled out our forecast. 

In 1961, we estimated that 25,000 Americans had 
turned-on to the strong psychedelics LSD, mesca- 
line, peyote. (Marijuana we stayed away from.) 
This figure did not include the 125,000 American 
Indians who use peyote as their sacrament and who 
were there as an inestimable psychic asset when we 
were ready to use it. (It is no accident that the 
psychedelic movement by 1967 was a tribal 
phenomenon. ) 

At the rate of cellular growth we expected that 
by 1967 a million Americans would be using LSD. 
We calculated that the critical figure for blowing 
the mind of the American society would be four 
million LSD users and this would happen by 1969. 

We were wrong in our estimates. We were too 
conservative. By 1966 Life magazine announced 
that a million Americans were using LSD. In the 
spring of 1966, a million doses a month were being 
distributed by a messianic underground in Cali- 
fornia alone. By 1967 four million Americans had 
taken the trip. In June of 1967, an album by the 
Beatles which openly celebrated the psychedelic 
experience sold a million copies the first week of its 

Our forecast was off because, as middle-aged 
professors, we counted on the artists and the mi- 
norities and the college youth, but we failed to 
anticipate the use of LSD by high-school kids. In 
our academic isolation we forgot that for thousands 
of years the psychedelic vision has been the rite of 
passage of the teen-ager the Dakota Indian boy 

December 1960 00 133 

who sits on the mountaintop fasting and sleepless, 
waiting for the revelation. The threshold of adult 
game life is the ancient and natural time for the 
rebirth experience, the flip-out trip from which you 
come back as a man. A healthy society provides and 
protects the sacredness of the teen-age psychedelic 
voyage. A sick, static society fears and forbids the 

The psychedelic movement was to develop with- 
out organization, without leaders, without dogmatic 
doctrines and become a full-blown religious renais- 
sance of the young. 

It moved quickly, always shocking, continually 
shattering structures. You either surrendered to the 
flow and went with that full tide of two billion 
years, or you were thrown to the bank where you 
shouted stop! danger! medical control! evil! scien- 
tific respectability! and despaired that your words 
couldn't slow the relentless current. 

Allen Ginsberg came to Harvard and shook us 
loose from our academic fears and strengthened 
our courage and faith in the process. 

Allen Ginsberg: That was 
Peter, half-hour sitting at 
typewriter totally high. Lots 
happening here, a great 
shade (Negro) painter in 
town who tells me he 
stayed high on mescaline 3 
months last year. . . . 

Magnificent imaginist painter 
(new school we named) 
i.e. visionary literal dream 
vision or waking visionary 
imagery as subject, break- 
thru from abstract Greg- 
ory a great book American 
Express the last word on 
cosmic politics 

A dreamy comedy writ like 
Candide and Alice in Won- 
derland, pix by author, we'll 
send you a copy Bur- 
roughs one of the goofy 


the caldron. Supreme good fortune 
Success. (iching) 


You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 
to Use Your Head: 





January 1961 g 

Guide: frank barron <yj 

Oracle: VI S 

Conflict 8 


The Creative, Heaven 

The Abysmal, Water 


Heaven and water go their opposite ways: 
The image of conflict. 
Thus in all his transactions the superior man 
Carefully considers the beginning. 



From Within and Without by 
Hermann Hesse: 

There was once a man by 
the name of Frederick; he 
devoted himself to intel- 
lectual pursuits and had a 
wide range of knowledge. 
But all knowledge was not 
the same to him, nor was 
any thought as good as 
any other: he loved a cer- 
tain kind of thinking, and 
disdained and abominated 
the others. What he loved 
and revered was logic that 
so admirable method and, 
in general, what he called 

"Twice two is four," he 
used to say. "This I be- 
lieve; and man must do his 
thinking on the basis of 
this truth." 

Once there was a man by the name of Arthur 
Koestler who was painted within and without by 
Hermann Hesse. Whether his Sunday Telegraph 
manuscript needs any postductory remarks may be 
open to question. I, however, feel the need of 
adding a few pages, in which I try to record my 
own recollections of him. What I know of him is 
little enough, yet the impression left by his person- 
ality has remained, in spite of all, a deep and 
sympathetic one. 

A. K. devoted himself to intellectual pursuits. He 
had given up the novel as a medium of teaching, 
and had a wide range of knowledge. But not all 
knowledge was the same to him. Returning to his 
first profession, he said that any thought was not as 
good as another. He preferred science and report- 
ing. Science-reporting. 

He loved a certain kind of thinking, confessing to 
me that psychology was his first love, the profession 
in which he felt he could make his greatest con- 

He was rewriting an earlier book on creative 
thinking (new moves on the mind board) and 
disdained the mystical experience. Insight and out- 
look is what he called science once in a Franco 

In 1959 he had visited India in search of truth 
and meaning. His reactions were typical of the 
Western rational mind overwhelmed and flipped- 
out by the seething, organic, seed squalor-beauty of 
this Holy Land. A trip to India is a full-blown LSD 
experience a relentless serpentine uncoiling of un- 
washed earth-tissue. People react to India the way 
they do to psychedelic drugs they either flow with 
it into ecstatic unsterile union with mythic all-life, 
or they recoil behind sterile air-conditioned tourist- 
hotel plate glass, screaming for the next airplane to 

January 1961 00 137 

Beirut, or they slog through it unhappily but duti- 
fully, making notes as did dear, sturdy, sweating, 
pack-mind-on-back Arthur Koestler through his two 
mushroom sessions and his journey to the East. 

The upper trigram, whose image is heaven, has an 
upward movement; the lower trigram, water, in 
accordance with its nature, tends downward. Thus 
the two halves move away from each other, giving 
rise to the idea of conflict. ( I Ching VI ) 

He wrote a book about the East called The Lotus 
and the Robot, which was to become quite relevant 
to the psychedelic controversy. He held a low opin- 
ion, which explains the dark expectations which he 
brought to his psilocybin experiences. He congratu- 
lated himself on his rational mind. 

He was not really intolerant of religion. Although 
his given name Artha is Sanskrit for the acquisition 
of power, wealth, or fame, his cells remembered the 
paternal name. Artha Khesaya, flying in the air, 
Artha Kesava, having long or much or handsome 
hair, Artha Kohlasa, name of a raga, Artha Kohala, 
author of saga ( to whom the invention of the soma- 
psychedelic drama is attributed) or Artha Kosala, 
Kingdom of India, golden age, and Artha Kalidasa, 
ancient sage. 

Fooled by little pills for several centuries, Arthur 
Koestler disliked what he saw in the East, while his 
science embraced nearly everything that existed on 
earth. That was worth knowing. 

He said that both India and Japan seem to be 
spiritually sicker, the human soul more estranged 
and to tolerate more speculations on the soul, than 
the West. 

Arthur Koestler was a rational mind, tolerant 
long before Aldous Huxley found in yoga every- 
thing that Arthur Koestler recognized as supersti- 
tion. A remedy for our Brave New World. Without 
taking seriously what Schopenhauer called the 
Upanishads, the consolation of his life was pro- 
foundly odious and repugnant to him. 

Alien, uncultured, and retarded people of the 
first generation of the Nuclear Age might occupy 
themselves with solace in Zen. In remote antiquity 

He was not unaware, to be 
sure, that there were other 
sorts of thinking and knowl- 
edge; but they were not 
"science," and he held a 
low opinion of them . . . 
everything he recognized as 
superstition was profoundly 
odious and repugnant to 
him. Alien, uncultured, and 
retarded people might oc- 
cupy themselves with it: in 
remote antiquity there may 
have been mystical or 
magical thinking: but since 
the birth of science and 
logic there was no longer 
any sense in making use of 
these outmoded and dubi- 
ous tools. 

So he said and so he 
thought; and when traces 
of superstition came to his 
attention he became angry 
and felt as if he had been 
touched with something 

One day Frederick went to 
the house of one of his 
friends with whom he had 
often studied. It so hap- 
pened that he had not 
seen this friend for some 
time. . . . 

During a pause in the la- 
borious conversation Fred- 
erick looked about the 
studio he knew so well and 
saw, pinned loosely on the 
wall, a sheet of paper. . . . 
He stood up and went to 
the wall to read the paper. 

138 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 

There, in Erwin's beautiful 
script, he read the words: 
"Nothing is without, noth- 
ing is within." There it was! 
There he stood face to face 
with what he feared! . . . 
What stood written here, as 
an avowal of his friend's 
concern at the moment, 
was mysticism! Erwin was 

"This is the way," Erwin 
replied, and perhaps you 
have already taken the most 
difficult step. You have 
found by experience: the 
without can become the 
within. You have been be- 
yond the pair of antitheses. 
It seemed hell to you; learn, 
it is heaven! For it is 
heaven that awaits you. 
Behold, this is magic; to 
intercharge the without and 
the within, not by compul- 
sion, not in anguish, as you 
have done it, but freely, vol- 
untarily. Summon up the 
past, summon up the fu- 
ture: both are in you! Until 
today you have been the 
slave of the within. Learn 
to be its master. That is 


when the West groaned under the weight of mental 
knapsacks, receptivity to the voice of mystical or 
magical thinking was limited to periods of spiritual 
emergency, drugs on the brain. But since the birth 
of science to moods of futility and despair, there 
was no longer any sense in making use of such 
outmoded self -congratulation and dubious tools. 

So he said and so he thought. He traveled in 
India and Japan (in 1958-59) when traces of 
superstition came to the mood of the pilgrim. He 
became angry like countless others before and felt 
that he had been touched. Whether the East had 
any answer to offer something hostile to our per- 
plexity and deadlocked problems he was not to be 
fooled by little pills. 

It angered him, striking the olfactory note. He 
found such traces among his own sort, which 
guided his reactions among educated men conver- 
sant with the culture of Asia. The principles of 
scientific thinking. Sober self-control. Self. 

The sewers of Bombay had been opened by 
mistake and nothing was more painful and intoler- 
able to him than the damp heat impregnated by the 
scandalous notion which lately by their stench in- 
vaded the air-conditioned cabin. He had sometimes 
heard expressed and discussed the moment the 
door of the Viscount was opened by men of great 
culture. As we descended the steps, that absurd 
idea that a wet, smelly diaper (scientific thinking 
around my head ) was possibly not a supreme, time- 
less, eternal, foreordained and unassailable mode of 
thought by some abominable joker. 

The second half of the book, but one of many, 
was a transient way of thinking, permeated with 
the stink of Zen, not impervious to change. This 
irreverent, destructive, poisonous note a phrase 
often used in Zen literature, wrong kind. 

Even Arthur Koestler could not deny it and thus 
in a sense came back impoverished, cropping up 
here and there as a result of the distress throughout 
the world, rather than enriched, no merit. A ra- 
tional mind. Like a warning, like a white hand's 
ghostly writing that his place was Europe in the 
center of his mind. 

The more Arthur Koestler suffered from looking 
at this tiny continent, puffing and panting up the 

January 1961 00 139 

steep path. This idea existed from the vastness of 
Asia and could so deeply distress him, while gain- 
ing a fresh impression the more passionately his 
compactness and coherence assailed it, and those 
he secretly suspected of believing in it. 

Conflict develops when one feels himself to be in 
the right and runs into opposition. (I Ching VI) 

I started my journey so far only a very few little 
pills among the truly educated in sackcloth and 
ashes. Challenging Aldous Huxley who had openly 
and frankly defended the drug cult. He came back 
rather proud, a rational mind professing belief in 
this doctrine. Of being a European. It may be 
parochial pride, an answer. A doctrine seemed 
destined, but it was not smug. Should it gain in 
circulation: drugs on drain, different look, sudden 


for a Hungarian-born. French-loving. English 
writer. To destroy all spiritual values on earth with 
some experience of prison and concentration camps 
to call forth chaos. 

One cannot help being aware. Well, matters had 
not reached Europe's past sins that point yet of 
present deadly peril. The scattered individuals who 
openly embraced a detached comparison with other 
continents. The idea! no merit. Of the way Europe 
stood up still so few in number that they could be 
considered oddities to its past trials and of its 
contribution to man's history. Sober self-control. 

Peculiar fellows. But a drop of the poison leaves 
one with a new confidence. An emanation of that 
idea and affection for that small figure, Hungarian- 
born, could be perceived first on this side, then 
riding the back of the Asian bull. 

Among the half-educated A.K.'s portrait of him- 
self could be a small figure compact and coherent. 
drugs on the rrain. Esoteric doctrines, sects, and 
discipleships sketched with accuracy. The world 
was full of the struggle of the European mind and 
the Asian bull. Everywhere one could scent his 
tormented search for verbal meaning. Superstition. 
Science. Mysticism. Franco prison. Science. Zionism. 
Spiritualistic cults. Communism. Insight and Out- 
look. Other mysterious forces. It was really neces- 

From The Lotus and the 
Robot by Arthur Koestler: 

The sewers of Bombay had 
been opened by mistake, I 
was told, before the tide 
had come in. The damp 
heat, impregnated by their 
stench, invaded the air-con- 
ditioned cabin the moment 
the door of the Viscount 
was opened. As we de- 
scended the steps I had 
the sensation that a wet, 
smelly diaper was being 
wrapped around my head 
by some abominable joker. 
This was December; the 
previous day I had been 
slithering over the frozen 
snow in the mountains of 

Lilies that fester smell far 
worse than weeds; both 
India and Japan seem to 
be spiritually sicker, more 
estranged from a living 
faith than the West. To look 
to Asia for mystic enlight- 
enment and spiritual guid- 
ance has become as much 
of an anachronism as to 
think of America as the 
Wild West. 

... I started my journey in 
sackcloth and ashes and 
came back rather proud of 
being a European. It may 
be a somewhat parochial 
pride, but it is not smug, 
for, as a Hungarian-born, 
French-loving, English writ- 
er with some experience of 
prisons and concentration 
camps, one cannot help 
being aware of Europe's 
past sins and present 
deadly peril. And yet a 
detached comparison with 
other continents of the way 
Europe stood up to its past 
trials, and of its contribu- 
tion to man's history, leaves 
one with a new confidence 
and affection for that small 
figure riding on the back of 
the Asian bull. 


140 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 

From "Return Trip to Nir- 
vana" by Arthur Koestler, 
in the London Sunday Tele- 

A few weeks ago I received 
a letter from a friend, an 
American psychiatrist work- 
ing at Harvard University: 


Things are happening here 
which I think will interest 
you. The big, new hot issue 
these days in many Ameri- 
can circles is DRUGS. We 
believe that the synthetics 
of the cactus peyote (mes- 
calin) and the mushroom 
(psilocybin) offer possibili- 
ties for expanding con- 
sciousness, changing per- 
ceptions, removing abstrac- 
tions. . . . 

We are offering the experi- 
ence to distinguished cre- 
ative people. Artists, poets, 
writers, scholars. We've 
learned a tremendous 
amount by listening to them. 
... If you are interested 
I'll send some mushrooms 
over to you. ... I'd like to 
hear about your reac- 
tion. . . . 

Shortly afterwards, I had to 
go to the University of 
Michigan at Ann Arbor. I 
had been invited there for 
quite different reasons, but 
on the first morning of my 
stay the subject of the 
magic mushroom cropped 

sary to combat. But which science? It was as if a 
private feeling of weakness, to which a generation 
of postwar intellectuals owed their political libera- 
tion, had for the present been given free rein. 

I first met A.K. in London in 1959. Always 
haunted by what he termed monumental feelings of 
inferiority, he called up my aunt, beloved Whit- 
taker Chambers, to inquire for a furnished room. 
Feelings of inferiority. He went one day to the 
house of one of his friends. He was, in fact, as he 
called himself, a real wolf of the steps. Isolated 
from life by his categorizing mind. It so happened 
that he had not seen the friend for some time. 
Hello. Yogi/commissar! Arrival/ departure! Blanch- 
ing he stood motionless for a moment. Lotus/ 
Robot! Promise/fulfillment! There it was! There he 
stood face-to-face with what he feared! Endlessly 
dancing the old Aristotelian two-step. Certainly! he 
cried. Of course I know it. Age of longing at the 
twilight bar. Its mysticism, its gnosticism! 

You look at A.K. and see the face of Europe's 
history, into which his life had drifted on account 
of his disposition and destiny. And how consciously 
he accepted this I certainly did not know until I 
read the records he left behind him. Rational mind. 
Congratulations. A new epistemology? Is there such 
a thing? In the haunting eyes and the furrowed 
face-skin. This is the way, Erwin replied. On this 
frail hinge Koestler swung the fate of a generation 
of European political thought. And perhaps you 
have already taken the most difficult step. Oh ra- 
tional mind of Europe! You have found by experi- 
ence. Jewish. Hungarian. Austrian. French. Ger- 
man. English. All under one skull. The without can 
become the within. Great God! What does not 
stand classified as man or wolf he does not see at 
all. The noble arrogance of the self-assigned task! 
Once A.K. had been beyond the pair of antitheses. 
In the Franco cell he was floating on his back in a 
river of peace under bridges of silence. It seemed 
hell to him. It came from nowhere and flowed 
nowhere. Learn, my friend, it is heaven! There was 
no river and no I. For it is heaven that awaits you. 
The J had ceased to exist. Behold, this is magic. But 
now he puffs and pants up the steep path groaning 

January 1961 00 141 

under the load of mind. To interchange the without 
and the within, not by compulsion. In this way he 
was always recognizing and affirming with one-half 
of himself, in thought and act, what with the other 
half he fought and denied. His rational mind need 
not crouch ready to categorize and evaluate every 
new event, each new experience. Not in anguish, as 
he did it, but freely, voluntarily. Your poor mind 
need not be the fulcrum upon which galaxies turn. 
Summon up the past. Your frail cortex need not 
support the weight of the universe, explaining, 
ordering, labeling everything that occurs. Summon 
up the future. Both are in you. You need no longer 
judge the good and evil of each new flick of cosmic 
process. Until today you have been the slave of the 
within. Learn to be its master. 

If a man is entangled in a conflict, his only salvation 
lies in being so clear-headed and inwardly strong 
that he is always ready to come to terms by meeting 
the opponent halfway. ( I Ching VI ) 


This, however, was not 
much of a coincidence as 
at the present moment a 
surprising number of Ameri- 
cans, from Brass to Beat, 
seem to have, for different 
reasons, drugs on the brain; 
the Brass because they are 
worried about brainwash- 
ing and space-flight train- 
ing; the Beat because drugs 
provide a rocket-powered 
escape from reality; the Or- 
ganization Men because 
tranquillisers are more ef- 
fective than the homely as- 
pirins and fruitsalts of yore; 
and the spiritually frus- 
trated on all levels of so- 
ciety because drugs prom- 
ise a kind of do-it-yourself 
approach to Salvation. 

The heavy weight of rationalism. Cruel doctrine 
of individual will. I, Arthur Koestler, believe in one 
God the creator of Heaven and Earth. One mind. 
One judicial authority to make a billion decisions 
each second that the planet turns. The billion-fold 
moral judgments. You favor tolerance toward all 
religions and all political systems. What about Hit- 
ler's gas chambers? The old Zen monk looks at the 
tense, alert European visitor and smiles. When you 
ask these logical questions we feel embarrassed, 
said the Buddhist. 

The Aristotelian intellectual! Tell me, Maria, how 
can you have fondness for him, a tiresome old 
logician with no looks, who even has gray hair and 
doesn't play a saxophone and doesn't sing any 
English love songs, whose only security rests on his 
ability to rationalize each new experience? Most of 
that sort instinctively refuse to have anything to do 
with psychedelic chemicals. At times Maria, too, 
availed herself of Pablo's secret drugs and was 
forever procuring these delights for me also. A few 
adventurous or courageous intellectuals have made 
the psychedelic voyage and struggle throughout the 

The psychiatrist in charge 
of the mushroom was an 
Englishman of the quiet, 
gentle and unAmerican 
kind. Based on his own 
experiences and on experi- 
ments with ten test-sub- 
jects, he ventured the cau- 
tious and tentative opinion 
that compared with the 
fashionable wonder-drugs, 
mescalin and lysergic acid, 
the effect of the mushroom 
was relatively harmless and 
entirely on the pleasant, 
euphoric side. 

142 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 

It is well known that the 
mental attitude, the mood 
in which one enters the 
gates of mushroomland, 
plays a decisive part in de- 
termining the nature of the 
experience. Since Dr. P. 
was such a pleasant per- 
son and the atmosphere of 
Ann Arbor appealed to me, 
I volunteered as a guinea 
pig, though I felt a little 
guilty towards my enthusi- 
astic friend in Harvard. 
However, on the day before 
I took the drug, I had a 
very unpleasant experience 
with the result that I 
faced the mushrooms in an 
anxious and depressed 

They come synthesized, in 
the shape of little pink pills. 
I swallowed nine of them 
(18 mg. of psilocybin), 
which is a fair-sized dose 
for a person of my weight. 
They were supposed to 
start acting after thirty min- 

However, for nearly an hour 
nothing at all happened. I 
was chatting with Dr. P. and 
one of his assistants, first 
in his office, then in a room 
which had a comfortable 
couch in it and a tape re- 
corder; after a while I was 
left alone in the room, but 
Dr. P. looked in from time 
to time. I lay down on the 
couch, and soon began to 
experience the kind of phe- 
nomena which have been 
repeatedly described by 
people who experimented 
with mescalin. 

session to impose their minds. Pablo was always 
most markedly on the alert to be of service to him. 
Once he said to A.K. without more ado, You always 
try to keep the experience under mental control. 
That is bad. One shouldn't be like that. The mind is 
by definition anti-ecstasy. Try a mild pipe of 
hashish. The psychedelic session is the final ordeal 
of rationality. We became friends and he took some 
of my specifics. The test completed, he wrote his 
report in the Sunday Telegraph explaining away 
what his rebellious cortex tried to do to the sym- 
metry of his verbal mind. Once I gave him a drink 
from three little bottles, a mysterious and wonder- 
ful draught. And then when he had got into a very 
good humor, we proposed to celebrate a love orgy. 
He declined abruptly. 

When we started our research at Harvard I wrote 
to A.K. telling him about the mystical experiences 
we were encountering and inviting him to partici- 
pate in a love feast. Brother Arthur, I invite you to 
a little entertainment. For madmen only and the 
price your mind. Are you ready? An immediate 
reply. A.K. was coming to the U.S. and would like 
very much to come to Harvard and try the mush- 

A few days before his scheduled arrival a phone 
call came from New York. In somber tones A.K. 
said that he had already taken psilocybin with a 
psychiatrist in Michigan and had a hellish paranoid 
experience. For God's sake, let's snap out of it. He 
had no desire whatsoever to make the voyage again 
transformed into the claws of a predatory bird. 
Never. No thanks. Wrong kind. No merit. He made 
repeated efforts to walk out of the show. Drugs on 
the brain. He was powerless against the delusion. 

Well, why not come up to Harvard anyway and 
look around and see what we're doing? Agreed. 

Arthur Koestler was an object of interest and 
admiration at Harvard. The top scholars come to 
the center to pay homage. A list of appointments 
was quickly set up. It was quite a ball. A thin- 
skinner professor told him that Hindus must be 
conditioned like animals to give up religious super- 
stition. He felt in his waistcoat pocket the number 
was no longer there! Miss Jerry Burner with her 

January 1961 00 143 

bruner left hand praised him for the limpid elasser 
sparkling in the thick peasant glass. I'd have loved 
to have danced with you again, he said, intoxicated 
by her warmth. ( Later he worried that Jerry would 
steal his numbered ideas. The devil was in it if ever 
these failed him!) Waltzing masked around the 
Harvard Yard, watching A.K.'s charm and alert 
mind playing at the intellectual game. 

From All Ports a gordon dancing girl flung her- 
self into his arms. Dance with me! I can't, he said, 
I'm bound for hell. 

The second afternoon, there was an hour free so I 
phoned over to the Massachusetts Mental Health 
Institute to see about arranging a dance with one of 
the world's top neurologists. Of all the surprises I 
had prepared for him, this was to be the most 

For have no moment of doubt that it was I who 
brought this bird of paradise who was delighted to 
be our host at his special table at the Ritz Bar. 

So far, he said, I have control. That was fine. The 
schedule was : drinks at the Ritz, dinner at the Steel 
Helmet in Boston with the Frank Barrons, and then 
an evening at the Magic Theater for A.K. to observe 
a psilocybin session run under easygoing, suppor- 
tive circumstances for madmen only. 

To put on a good mushroom ritual, I had wired 
up to Charles Olson, our father who art in Glouces- 
ter. The giant Olson, genial guru, father of modern 
poetry. Unfortunately it is a habit, a vice of his, 
always to speak his mind, as indeed Goethe did in 
his better moments. A few years previous he had 
retired to a rocky promontory overlooking the 
harbor whence he served as guide and friend to our 
work. Olson dominates any gathering with his size, 
his wit, his intellect, his noble stature, his wise 
animal energy. He was striving for redemption but 
it will take him all his time. He was the person, 
surely, to introduce Arthur Koestler to the open- 
brain and its ecstatic possibilities. 

On the way to the Ritz, A.K. told us of two dear 
friends of his, Moses and Jehovah, who had re- 
searched mescaline in Berlin during the twenties. 
Their psychedelic sessions kept opening up more 
and more realms of experience and revelation. Dr. 

When I closed my eyes I 
saw luminous, moving pat- 
terns of great beauty, which 
was highly enjoyable; then 
the patterns changed into 
planaria a kind of flat- 
worm which I had watched 
under the microscope the 
previous day in a labora- 
tory; but the worms had a 
tendency to change into 
dragons, which was less 
enjoyable, so I walked out 
of the show by opening my 

I tried it again, directing the 
beam of the table-lamp, 
which had a strong bulb, 
straight at my closed eye- 
lids, and the effect was 
quite spectacular rather 
like the explosive paintings 
of schizophrenics, or Walt 
Disney's Fantasia. 

A flaming eddy, the funnel 
of a tornado, appeared over 
my head, drawing me up- 
ward; with a little auto-sug- 
gestion and self-dramatisa- 
tion I could have called it a 
vision of myself as the 
prophet Elijah being taken 
to Heaven by a whirlwind. 
But I felt that this was buy- 
ing one's visions on the 
cheap (Carter's mushrooms 
are the best; mystic experi- 
ence guaranteed or money 
refunded); so I again 
walked out of the show by 
forcing my eyes to open. It 
was as simple as that, and 
I congratulated myself on 
my sober self-control, a 
rational mind not to be 
fooled by little pills. 

144 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 


By now, however, even with 
open eyes, the room looked 
different. The colours had 
become not only more lumi- 
nous and brilliant, but dif- 
ferent in quality from any 
colour previously seen; 
they were located outside 
the normally visible spec- 
trum, and to refer to them 
one would have to invent 
new words so I shall say 
that the walls were breen, 
the curtain darsh, and the 
sky outside emerdine. Also, 
one of the walls had ac- 
quired a concave bend like 
the inside of a barrel, the 
plaster statue of the Venus 
of Milo had acquired a grin, 
and the straight dado-line 
was pleasantly curved, 
which struck me as an ex- 
ceedingly clever joke. 

But all this was quite un- 
like the wobbling world of 
drunkenness, for the room 
was plunged into an under- 
water silence, where the 
faint hum of the tape re- 
corder became obtrusively 
loud, and the almost im- 
perceptible undulations of 
the curtains became the 
Ballet of the Flowing Folds 
(the undulations were 
caused by the warm air 
ascending from the central- 
heating body). 

Moses climbing Sinai, a gloomy hero in a gloomy 
wilderness of rocks, and Dr. Jehovah in the midst 
of storm and thunder and lightning imparting the 
Ten Commandments, while worthless friends set 
up the Golden Calf at the foot of the kurfursten- 
damm. They tried to tell others about their dis- 
coveries but no one would listen, neither their 
colleagues nor their families. Mighty Dr. Jehovah 
and Dr. Moses, with a dark and fiery eye and the 
stride of Wotan, finally got to a point where they 
could only communicate with each other. I saw 
them pray at the edge of the Red Sea. Flipped-out 
together they had a rapport and high pitch of 
understanding in Handel's wonderful duet for two 
basses in which this event is magnificently sung. To 
the rest of the world they were hopeless eccentrics. 
So strange and incredible to be looking on at all 
this. A.K.'s medical friend suddenly seeing sacred 
peyote writ, with its heroes and its wonders, the 
source in our childhood of the first dawning suspi- 
cion of another world than this, presented before a 
distasteful public that sat eating the provisions 
brought with it from home. 

Finally the social pressure was too great and they 
cracked under the strain. A nice picture, indeed, 
picked up by chance in the huge wholesale clear- 
ance of culture in these days. Jehovah went to 
Mexico where he died in short time. Moses, with 
dark and fiery eye and a long staff and the stride of 
Wotan; went to Munich where he was treated by a 
monster of a psychiatrist who failed to understand 
him. My God, rather than come to such a pass, it 
would have been better for the Jews and everyone 
else, let alone the Germans, to have perished in 
those days, forthwith of a violent and unbecoming 
death instead of this dismal pretense of dying inch 
by inch that we go in for today. Quitting treatment, 
the friend returned to Berlin and killed himself. 

At the Ritz the neurologist was waiting at his 
special table. His secretary was with him and the 
waitress hovered by solicitously. So far, he said, I 
have contented myself with turning the heads of 
ladies. But now your time has come. First, let's 
have a glass of champagne. 



146 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 

A narrow strip of the re- 
volving spool of the tape re- 
corder caught the gleam of 
the lamp every few sec- 
onds; and this faint, inter- 
mittent spark, unnoticed be- 
fore, observed out of the 
corner of the eye on the 
visual periphery, became 
the revolving beam of a 
miniature lighthouse. This 
lowering of the sensory 
threshold and simultaneous 
heightening of the inten- 
sity and emotional signifi- 
cance of perceptions, is 
one of the basic phe- 
nomena of the mushroom 
universe. The intermittent 
light-signal from the slowly 
revolving spool became im- 
portant, meaningful and 
mysterious; it had some 
secret message. Afterwards 
I remembered, with sympa- 
thetic understanding, the 
fantasies of paranoiacs 
about hidden electric ma- 
chines and other contrap- 
tions planted by their 
enemies to produce evil 
Rays and Influences. 


The signalling tape re- 
corder was the first symp- 
tom of a chemically-in- 
duced state of insanity. The 
full effect came on with in- 
sidious smoothness and 
suddenness. Dr. P. came 
into the room, and a minute 
or two later I saw the light 
and realised what a fool I 
had been to let myself be 
trapped by his cunning 
machinations. For during 
that minute or two he had 
undergone an unbelievable 

Arthur Koestler made a quip about their mutual 
European background which the psychiatrist 
avoided. A.K.'s eyes, wolf of the steps, narrowed, 
and mild dislike grew quickly to strong distaste. 
Couldn't stand a person who denies his racial past. 

A long anatomical argument began. Like t^o 
teletype machines, the men, chattering neurol gy 
tapes, sank slowly down into a soggy whisky 
swamp of sullen generalization. The neurologist, 
pressed by Koestler's finny logic, flopped through 
the undergrowth of swizzle sticks and olives. Poised 
on an island of potato chips he denied there was 
such a thing as a midbrain. A.K. surfaced to lob 
glances of resignation our way. 

Keep quiet with your questions and chatter, said 
the neurologist. I'm a professor of theology, if you 
want to know. But the Lord be praised, there's no 
occasion for theology now, my boy. It's war. Come 
on. Then Koestler's face grew tense. What did you 
say your name was? he asked the neurologist. Ah. 
And did you ever have a patient by the name of 
Dr. Moses? No. He remembered no such patient. 
Moving in like a cross-examiner, A.K. sketched in 
more details about his friend, about his problems, 
his history, his appearance dark and fiery eye 
and a long staff and the stride of Wotan. 

Slowly the neurologist remembered. Oh yes, now 
that you remind me, I do seem to remember treat- 
ing the case. 

Treat him, indeed, retorted A.K. sternly. I saw 
him pray to God at the edge of the Red Sea, and I 
saw the Red Sea parted to give free passage, a deep 
road between piled-up mountains of water. And by 
the way, do you have any idea what became of 
him? No, said the neurologist. I last saw him climb- 
ing Sinai, a gloomy hero in a gloomy wilderness of 
rocks. I was about to ask you if you knew of the 
outcome of the case. 

A.K. breathed heavily. As a matter of fact he 
killed himself in Berlin the following year. 

A sudden quiet settled down over the table. 
(The confirmation classes conducted by the clergy 
to see this religious film could argue without end as 
to how the film people managed this.) Neurologist 
puffed quickly at cigar and called the waitress over. 
A nice picture, indeed, picked up by chance in the 

January 1961 00 147 

huge wholesale clearance of culture these days. 

Then the Barrons arrived, Frank poised and 
cheerful and his new wife, Nancy, radiant and 
bouncing. On and on went their nuptial dance. God 
knows where the girl got her voice; it was so deep 
and good and maternal. Obediently I shut my eyes, 
leaned my head against the wall, and heard the 
roar of a hundred mingled voices surge around me. 
After another drink we moved to leave the neurol- 
ogist. Outside, the air coming off the Boston Com- 
mon was clear and fresh. We had all escaped from 
an especially grim mental hospital. Somewhere we 
heard a door bang, a glass break, a titter of 
laughter die away, mixed with the angry hurried 
noise of motorcars starting up. We felt close to- 
gether after the ordeal and drove to the North End 
for seafood. You're ready? Far up in unhuman 
space rang out that strange laugh. A.K., bubbling 
with spirit, ordered wines and made a gallant scene 
with Nancy. 

When we arrived back at the house, Charles 
Olson was in the kitchen leaning over, talking to 
young Jack Leary, his back to us. I brought A.K. up 
to Olson. The giant poet turned, looked down at 
the small figure of the novelist, and beamed out of 
his jolly eyes that really were animal's eyes, except 
that animal's eyes are always serious, while his 
always laughed and turned into human eyes. 

Olson was holding a toy pistol in his hand. 

Arthur Koestler's eyes went up, up, up to look at 
Olson and then dropped quickly to the pistol. He 
paled and pulled back. There he stood face-to-face 
with what he feared. 

Olson roaring out genial greetings. Brother 
Harry, I invite you to a little entertainment. For 
madmen only, and one price only your mind. Are 
you ready? Coats removed, the group assembled in 
the study. Why then was Hermine so white? Why 
was Pablo talking so much? A low built-in couch 
ran along two sides of the room, intersecting at the 
corner. A large round table strung people out in the 
form of a circle. Highballs. We planned the session. 
My friends, I have invited you to an entertainment 
that Harry has long worked for and of which he has 
long dreamed. 

Olson and Leary and Barron and a Harvard 

It started with the colour 
of his face, which had be- 
come a sickly yellow. He 
stood in a corner of the 
room with his back to the 
green wall, and as I stared 
at him his face split into 
two, like a cell dividing, 
then reunited again, but by 
this time the transformation 
was complete. A small scar 
on the doctor's neck which 
I had not noticed before, 
was gaping wide, trying to 
ingest the flesh of the chin; 
one ear had shrunk, the 
other had grown by several 
inches; the face became a 
smirking, evil phantasm. 
Then it changed again, into 
a different kind of Hogar- 
thian vision, and these 
transformations went on for 
what I imagined to be sev- 
eral minutes. 

All this time the doctor's 
body remained unchanged; 
the hallucinations were 
confined to the space from 
the neck upward; and they 
were strangely two-dimen- 
sional, like faces cut out of 
cardboard. The phenome- 
non was always strongest 
in that corner of the room 
where it had first occurred, 
and faded into less offen- 
sive distorting-mirror ef- 
fects when we moved else- 
where, although the light- 
ing of the room was uni- 

The same happened when 
other members of the staff 
joined us later. One of 
them, the jovial Dr. F., was 
transformed into a vision so 
terrifying a Mongol with 
a broken neck hanging from 
an invisible gallows that I 
thought I was going to be 
sick; yet I could not stop 
myself staring at him. In 
the end I said: For God's 
sake let's snap out of it, 
and we moved into another 
part of the room, where 
the effect became weaker. 

148 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 

As the last remark indi- 
cates, I was still in control 
of my outward behaviour, 
and this remained true 
throughout the whole three 
or four hours of the experi- 
ence. But at the same time 
I had completely lost con- 
trol over my perception of 
the world. I made repeated 
efforts "to walk out of the 
show" as I had been able 
to do during the first stages 
on the couch, but I was 
powerless against the delu- 
sions. I kept repeating to 
myself: But these are nice, 
friendly people, they are 
your friends, and so on. It 
had no effect whatsoever 
on the spontaneous and in- 
exorable visual transforma- 

I have mentioned before that 
all of Dr. P.'s previous sub- 
jects had positive euphoric 
experiences; I "broke the 
series," as he ruefully re- 
marked over post-mortem 

I had met the mushroom in 
the wrong state of mind, 
owing to that incident on 
the previous day, which 
had awakened memories of 
past experiences as a po- 
litical prisoner, and of past 
preoccupations with brain- 
washing, torture and the 
extraction of confessions. 
The phantom faces were ob- 
vious projections of a deep- 
seated resentment against 
being "trapped" in a situa- 
tion which carried symbolic 
echoes of the relation be- 
tween prisoner and inquisi- 
tor, of Gestapo and GPU. 

graduate student named Lynn were to take psilocy- 
bin. The hour is late and no doubt we are all 
fatigued. Nancy Barron and Nunez and Rhona 
were to act as ground control. So first we will rest 
and refresh ourselves a little. A.K. would observe. 
From a recess in the wall I took a quaint little 
bottle, also a small oriental box inlaid with dif- 
ferently colored woods. We were sitting around the 
table and the pills were counted out for each 
voyager. A.K. had gotten over the shock of meeting 
Olson and the toy pistol and was in fine spirits, 
watching intently. When the last person had taken 
his potion, A.K. reached over and said, Let me go 
along too. He took ten tablets and washed them 
down with his drink. So he did, perched on his 
stool, while the dance went on around us to the 
lively strain of the strings. The ship cast off. 

We sat listening to the hi-fi. Its effect was en- 
livening and delightful. Light conversation. Olson 
was spread out over the couch, center of a giggling 
admiring group, as though one were filled with 

We who had shared the psychotomimetic cocktail 
session at the Ritz and had no longer any gravity 
were reviewing the day's events quietly. The soft 
peace of the mushroom began to descend. Jangled, 
racing minds began to purr smoothly. Every 
moment we felt ourselves growing lighter and more 
serene. The few words spoken were concise Zen 
Koans, questions answered in the asking. From far 
away came Pablo's warm voice. A candle flame on 
the circular table flickered softly saying, It is a 
pleasure to me, my dear Harry, to have a Spanish 
guitar concerto, pure notes of thin steel and the 
privilege of being your host in a small way on this 

Olson played gestural games with a sofa cushion. 
A quietly circling thread of closeness wove us to- 
gether. You have often been sorely weary of your 
life. When eyes met, they sent rays of amused 
understanding. You were striving, were you not? So 
here we are. Born and dying together. A longing to 
forsake this world and its reality. The incredible 
accidental chance nature of our existence, our 
sharing this quick intersection in astrophysical 
space-time to penetrate to a reality more native, to 

January 1961 00 149 

a world beyond time. The glance of recognition. 
We love, we love, we are all burnished copper 
atoms conductive on the same humming wire of 
energy. We know, of course, where this other world 
lies hidden. 

Nancy and Frank Barron were looking into each 
other's eyes. It is the world of your own soul that 
you seek. They rose. Nancy laughed and did a 
swirling dance, radiant, and then they were gone. 

Bach's ivory ping-pong ball bouncing precise 
down steel-wire tympanic membrane. Only within 
yourself exists that other reality for which you long. 
Rhona and Lynn giggling fondly at Olson's Mo- 
hawk Sachem funny chief ness. A.K., lost in har- 
monic nets strung aloft. I can give you nothing that 
has not already its being within yourself. The room 
rolling gently to ocean-swells of vibration. I can 
throw open to you no picture gallery but your own 
soul. Look, he is rewriting an earlier book in a river 
of peace. 

We are all burnished copper atoms; your rational 
mind need not crouch on humming wires of energy. 
All I can give you is the opportunity, the impulse, 
the key. A.K.'s face was now a rich purple. Moving 
in like a cross-examiner, A.K., haunting eyes and 
furrowed face-skin, was supporting the weight of 
the universe. Bach's ivory ping-pong balls drowning 
out, his lips moving rapidly. I help you to make 
your own world visible. That is all. He puffs and 
pants up the steep path groaning. But no one is 

Rhona and Lynn giggling fondly at Olson's 
bridges of silence. Waterfalls of thin steel notes 
muffling mind words. 

Now I will conduct you to my peep-show and 
show you my little theater. Will you come? pres- 
sure-cooker mysticism. A.K.'s soundless face be- 
gan to declaim about the ordeal completed. The 
mind by definition is anti-ecstasy. This little theater 
of mine has as many doors into as many boxes as 
you please. A piece of chamber music played. He 
was explaining that two times two is pressure- 
cooker mysticism but no one listened. Ten or a 
hundred or a thousand, and behind each door 
exactly what you seek awaits you. This struck me as 
obscene, more so than four-letter words, in the 


Poor Dr. P. and his nice 
colleagues had to endure 
what they would call a 
"negative transference," 
and serve as projection 
screens for the lantern 
slides of the past, stored 
in the mental underground. 
Thus I was a rather unfor- 
tunate choice for a guinea 
pig except perhaps to 
demonstrate what mush- 
roomland can do to the 
wrong kind of guinea pig; 
and I suspect that a sizable 
minority of people who try 
for a chemical lift to 
Heaven, will find themselves 
landed in the other place. 

I do not want to exaggerate 
the small risks involved in 
properly supervised experi- 
ments for legitimate re- 
search purposes; and I also 
believe that every clinical 
psychiatrist could derive 
immense benefits from a 
few experiments in chem- 
ically-induced, temporary 
psychosis, enabling them to 
see life through their pa- 
tients' eyes. But I disagree 
with the enthusiast's belief 
that mescalin or psilocybin, 
even when taken under the 
most favourable conditions, 
will provide artists, writers, 
or aspiring mystics with 
new insights, or revelations 
of a transcendental nature. 

I profoundly admire Aldous 
Huxley, both for his philos- 
ophy and uncompromising 
sincerity. But I disagree 
with his belief that drugs 
can procure "what Catholic 
theologians call a gratui- 
tous grace." Chemically-in- 
duced raptures may be 
frightening or wonderfully 
gratifying; in either case 
they are in the nature of 
confidence tricks played on 
one's own nervous system. 

150 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 


I think I understood the rea- 
son for this when I took the 
mushroom the second time, 
under more happy and re- 
laxed conditions. This was 
in the apartment of my Har- 
vard friend; there were six 
of us in a convivial atmos- 
phere. We all took various 
amounts of the pill, and this 
time I took a little more 
(either 22 or 24 mg. for I 
lost count). 

Again there were delusions: 
the room expanded and 
contracted in the most ex- 
traordinary manner, like an 
accordion played slowly, 
but the faces around me 
changed only slightly and 
in a pleasant way, becom- 
ing more beautiful. Then 
came the Moment of Truth: 
a piece of chamber music 
played on a tape recorder. 
I had never heard music 
played like that before, I 
suddenly understood the 
very essence of music, the 
secret of its magic. . . . 

Unfortunately, I was unable 
to tell the next day whether 
it had been a quartet or a 
quintet or a trio, and 
whether by Mendelssohn or 
Bach. I may just as well 
have listened to Liberace. 
It had nothing to do with 
genuine appreciation of mu- 
sic; my soul was steeped in 
cosmic schmalz. 


A small figure, compact and coherent, soundlessly 
lectures astride the Asian bull. It would be quite 
useless for you to go through it as you are. took us 


peak. Sober self-control! You would be checked and 
blinded at every turn by what you are pleased to 
call your personality. A small compact figure, Jew- 
ish, Hungarian, Austrian, now standing in front of 
the group, gesticulating earnestly. 

You have no doubt guessed long since that the 
conquest of time and the escape from reality, 
words, it seemed hell to you, came from nowhere 
and flowed nowhere, or however else it may be that 
you choose to describe your longing, puffing and 
panting up the steep path. Rhona and Lynn and 
Olson look up curiously at the frail cortex explain- 
ing, ordering, labeling everything. Meaning simply 
the wish to be relieved of your so-called person- 
ality, no merit. There he was, face-to-face with 
what he feared, an American writer whom he 
otherwise liked. That is the prison where you lie. 
drugs on the brain. A.K. breathed heavily, the 
virtue of sweat and toil. You are therefore re- 
quested to be so kind as to leave your highly 
esteemed personality here where you will find it 
again. In making use of such outmoded self-con- 
gratulation and dubious tools, my soul was steeped 
in cosmic schmaltz. Be as jolly as you can. wrong 

The virtue of sweat groans under the load. To 
teach you to laugh is the whole aim. What is he 
talking about? Questioning glances. You feel quite 
well, I trust? zen enlightenment seemed the ulti- 
mate profanation. Not afraid? That's good, ex- 
cellent. Come, dear compact figure; join the thread 
of closeness weaving us together, reproach of 
artificiality, huxley. Gesticulates, face cut out of 
cardboard. You will now, without fear and with 
wonderful pleasure, enter our visionary world, you 
Americans! drugs on the brain. American effi- 
ciency short-cuts cosmic awareness. You will in- 
troduce yourself to it by means of a trifling suicide. 

Their intersection in astrophysical space-time is 
different from those who arrive by motorcar, wrong 

January 1961 00 151 

kind. We are in a magic theater: a world of pic- 
tures. So I again walked out of the show by forcing 
my eyes to open. I congratulated myself on my 
sober self-control, a rational mind not to be fooled 
by a little Moment of Truth. See that you pick out 
beautiful and cheerful ones and show that you 
really are not in love with your highly questionable 
personality any longer. Good night. A.K. waved, 
face crinkling in parochial pride. He left the room. 
For madmen only? Long moments followed the 
departure. Bach's stringed clock ticked song of 
planetary motion. In dead silence. He was gone. 

Fearing a return of Michigan paranoia, I fol- 
lowed after. Knocked softly at his door. Barron's 
merry voice shouts come in. Barron? In Arthur 
Koestler's room? Entered, i was greatly cheered 


wolf world and went in. Barron jolly. We didn't 
know this was K's room. We just fell into the first 
room we saw. K came in to go to bed. You should 
have seen his face when he saw us. i kept repeat- 

upset? No. I'd say startled. Very apologetic. 
Where'd he go? Don't know. Backed out muttering 

Checking guest rooms down the hall. Arthur. 
Arthur. Knocking softly, Arthur. I still knew him 
well enough, and he still bore a faint resemblance 
and yet he had grown a few centuries older. Yes? Is 
it you, Pablo? Come in. Where are we? A.K. was in 
bed. Giggling. Radiating pleasure. High. We are in 
my Magic Theater. Sailing high. But I'm bound to 
say, Harry, you have disappointed me a little. Life 
is a song. Life is beautiful. Life is the golden dream 
of a lotus princess on a bed of lilies. You forget 
yourself badly. 

The next morning when I woke him up to start 
the round of Harvard appointments, A.K. sat up in 
bed. Those pills last night didn't affect me at all. 
You broke through the humor of my little theater 
and tried to make a mess of it. 

In times of strife, crossing the great water is to be 
avoided, that is, dangerous enterprises are not to be 
begun, because in order to be successful they re- 

I sobered up, though, when 
a fellow mushroom-eater 
an American writer whom 
otherwise I rather liked 
began to declaim about 
Cosmic Awareness, Ex- 
panding Consciousness, Zen 
Enlightenment, and so forth. 
This struck me as obscene, 
more so than four-letter 
words, this pressure-cooker 
mysticism seemed the ulti- 
mate profanation. But my 
exaggerated reaction was 
no doubt also mushroom- 
conditioned, so I went to 


In "Heaven and Hell," de- 
fending the mescalin ec- 
stasy against the reproach 
of artificiality, Huxley, the 
most highly respected ex- 
ponent of the cult, argues 
that, in one way or another, 
all our experiences are 
chemically conditioned; and 
that the great mystics of the 
past also worked systemati- 
cally to modify their body 
chemistry . . . starving 
themselves into low blood 
sugar and a vitamin de- 
ficiency. . . . They sang 
interminable psalms, thus 
increasing the amount of 
carbon dioxide in the lungs 
and the bloodstream, or, if 
they were Orientals, they 
did breathing exercises to 
accomplish the same pur- 

152 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 

There is, of course, a cer- 
tain amount of truth in this 
on a purely physiological 
level, but the conclusions 
which Huxley draws, and 
the advice he tenders to 
modern man in search of a 
soul, are all the more dis- 
tressing: "Knowing as he 
does . . . what are the 
chemical conditions of 
transcendental experience, 
the aspiring mystic should 
turn for technical help to 
the specialists in pharma- 
cology, in bio-chemistry, in 
physiology and neurology." 
I would like to answer this 
with a parable. In the be- 
loved Austrian mountains 
of my school days, it took 
us about five to six hours 
to climb a 7,000-foot peak. 
Today, many of them can 
be reached in a few min- 
utes by cable-car or ski-lift, 
or even by motorcar. Yet 
you still see thousands of 
schoolboys, middle-aged 
couples and elderly men 
puffing and panting up the 
steep path, groaning under 
the load of their knapsacks. 
When they arrive at the al- 
pine refuge near the sum- 
mit, streaming with sweat, 
they shout for their tradi- 
tional reward a glass of 
schnapps and a plate of 
hot pea-soup. And then they 
look at the view and then 
there is only a man and a 
mountain and a sky. 

My point is not the virtue 
of sweat and toil. My point 
is that, although the view 
is the same, their vision is 
different from those who ar- 
rive by motorcar. 


quire concerted unity of forces. Conflict within 
weakens the power to conquer danger without. 

The next evening on the way home A.K. bought 
two bottles of French wine, chosen with care, a 
flask of Scotch, and, gently from behind clenched 
teeth, asked: And if I do not submit? We sat in the 
library starting to work on the whisky. K held up 
his glass and shook it with an icy tinkle. And if I 
deny your right, Mozart, to interfere with the Step- 
penwolf, and to meddle in his destiny? I'll stick to 
my drug. Alcohol is a social stimulant. It warms 
you up; brings you closer to people. Mushrooms are 
non-social. They whirl you inside. Bring you closer 
to yourself. Give me alcohol any day. 

Oh, dear Arthur, I'm bound to say I thought you 
had learned the game better. 

Next day as we walked into the airport building 
at Logan field to see him off, A.K. made his final 
comment. You must admit that these drugs cause 
psychosis. A temporary psychosis. I'm bound to say, 
Harry, you broke through the humor of my little 
theater. A benign and educational psychosis, if you 
will. Would you say it's therapeutic? Therapeutic. 
Of course. That's what the effect should be called. 
ttp. instant mysticism. Temporary therapeutic 

The metal ramp was wheeled away and the metal 
door closed. Four motors roared, and the huge 
metal-magic bird lumbered down the concrete strip. 

There he went in the aluminum box. Did he 
understand Pablo? Mozart? Had a glimpse of its 
magic stirred his reason? Would he sample its 
tortures once more? Traverse once more the hell of 
inner being? 

Would he one day learn to laugh? Would I? 
Pablo was waiting for us both. And Mozart too. 

I drove back to Harvard and went by Frank 
Barron's office to tell him about my disappointment. 
Why hadn't we been able to turn-on Arthur 

Frank pulled at his chin thoughtfully. Koestler 
was lonely last night. Koestler is a man and a man 
needs a woman. Everyone else at the session had a 
mate. He was left out. Behind all this psychology 

January 1961 00 153 

and science business there are basicMssues of life 
which you have to take account of. If you ignore 
them you'll always be disappointed in your ses- 
sions. God and sex are always with us. 

Frank Barron's wry comments focused on an 
aspect of the psychedelic experience that I wasn't 
ready to come to terms with. It was becoming 
glaringly obvious that extraordinary sexual energies 
could be released. 

Frank was right. God and sex are the two central 
beats of the dance. The mind muffles and disguises 
the reality tune. Blow the mind and you are left 
with God and life and life is sex. 

This was obvious in my first trip in Mexico- 
languorous Mandy melting and the deep lingering 
of the Cherokee princess, Betty. 

Whenever trouble appeared in a session, it meant 
isolation from God and mate. The fear, the confu- 
sion, could always be calmed by prayer or loving 
fleshly contact. 

The raw, electric, shuddering sensitivity of the 
psychedelic experience! We were dealing with a 
powerful aphrodisiac, probably the most powerful 
sexual releaser known to man. The effect was sen- 
sorycontact was intensified thousand-fold but 
also deeper. The union was not just your body and 
her body but all of your racial and evolutionary 
entities with all of hers. It was mythic mating. 
Neurological union. Cellular sex. Archetypes merg- 
ing. It was the direct reliving of thousands of 
matings. She was an insect-queen buried deep in 
the damp tunnels of the ant hill humming with 
genetic energy and you burrowed down dark to 
find her. She was a bird of plumage trembling in 
the thicket for your feathered embrace. She was a 
taxi-dancer from Alexandria. 

The psychedelic drugs exploded sex right off the 
pages of Playboy into new dimensions of union that 
my mind wasn't ready to handle. 

And what was more awesome still was the after- 
effect. You came out of a session with changed 
emotions. New attractions and repulsions devel- 
oped. There was the session with the graduate 
student couple. He wandered around murmuring 
ecstatically about his new insights into space, time, 
meaning. She lay by the fire with her arms over her 

From Steppenwolf by Her- 
man Hesse: 

We joined him when he 
beckoned and in the door- 
way he said to me in a 
low voice: Brother Harry, I 
invite you to a little enter- 
tainment. For madmen only, 
and one price only your 
mind. Are you ready? 

Again I nodded. 

The dear fellow gave us 
each an arm with kind 
solicitude, Hermine his 
right, me his left, and con- 
ducted us upstairs to a 
small round room that was 
lit from the ceiling with a 
bluish light and nearly 
empty. . . . 

Why then was Hermine so 
white? Why was Pablo talk- 
ing so much? Was it not 
perhaps I who made him 
talk, spoke, indeed, with his 
voice? Was it not my own 
soul that contemplated me 
out of his black eyes 
like a lost and frightened 
bird? . . . 

My friends, I have invited 
you to an entertainment that 
Harry has long wished for 
and of which he has long 
dreamed. The hour is a 
little late and we are all 
slightly fatigued. So, first, 
we will rest and refresh our- 
selves a little. 

154 00 You Have to Go Out of Your Mind 

From a recess in the wall 
he took three glasses and 
a quaint little bottle, also a 
small oriental box inlaid 
with differently colored 
woods. He filled the three 
glasses from the bottle and, 
taking three long thin yel- 
low cigarettes from the box 
and a box of matches from 
the pocket of his silk 
jacket, he gave us a light. 
And now we all slowly 
smoked the cigarettes 
whose smoke was as thick 
as incense, leaning back in 
our chairs and slowly sip- 
ping the aromatic liquid 
whose strange taste was so 
utterly unfamiliar. 

Its effect was immeasurably 
enlivening and delightful 
as though one were filled 
with gas and had no longer 
any gravity. Thus we sat 
peacefully exhaling small 
puffs and taking little sips 
at our glasses, while every 
moment we felt ourselves 
growing lighter and more 

From far away came Pab- 
lo's warm voice. 

It is a pleasure to me, dear 
Harry, to have the privilege 
of being your host in a 
small way on this occa- 
sion. You have often been 
sorely weary of your life. 
You were striving, were 
you not, for escape? You 
have a longing to forsake 
this world and its reality 
and to penetrate to a reality 
more native to you, to a 
world beyond time. You 
know, of course, where this 
other world lies hidden. 

head murmuring his name. When he ignored her, 
her soft eyes moved around the room and her body 
twisted in search. She looked at me and smiled. 
Then she unfolded and swam towards me. Her 
husband was standing looking out the window. Her 
husband. His wife. Now she was all-woman recep- 
tive earth; tomorrow she would be reincarnated as 
a pretty graduate student. I retreated behind the 

After their second session they separated and she 
married the man whose image she brought back 
from her psychedelic trip. 

It was almost inevitable that the guide of the 
session would be seen as God and lover. When the 
mind is suspended you project on the calm person 
who has turned you on, all the attributes of divinity 
and eternal malehood. 

We called this process of new attraction-repul- 
sion re-imprinting. The persons you turned-on fell 
in love with you or never wanted to see you again. I 
have never met Arthur Koestler since his trip. Allen 
Ginsberg has been my soul brother since his trip. 

In the first two months of our Harvard psyche- 
delic research seven women followed me home- 
much as the baby ducklings followed Conrad 
Lorenz and announced their love. 

For many reasons I was not ready in 1961 to face 
the sexual potentials of psychedelic drugs. 

I was awed and confused by the sexual power. It 
was too easy. I was too much an Irish Catholic, too 
prudish to deal with it. Too Western Christian to 
realize that God and Sex are one, that God for a 
man is woman, that the direct path to God is 
through the divine union of male-female. 

Besides, I was still involved in being a scientist. 
Too weighted by the duties and responsibilities to 
enjoy the newly opened paradise. I was too much 
an intellectual. I wanted to understand before 
plunging in. I felt a moral obligation to Harvard 
University a good place on this dark planet. How 
could I enjoy the ultimate sexual-sensual experience 
in my study and square it with my scholarly posi- 
tion? How could I be consumed by ecstasies un- 
dreamed of by oriental kings and return to my 
Harvard Square office the next morning. 

January 1961 00 155 

It was there this tender garden of divine bliss 
and I was voyaging towards it, but while I held my 
Harvard position I held to a self-imposed, ridicu- 
lous renunciation. I didn't turn-on with the slim 
brown model. I watched the Arab girl leave with 
questioning regret in her black eyes. I gave mush- 
rooms to the honest, soft Joan, which she used to 
turn-on one of her suitors whom she married. I let 
the Cherokee princess drift away clothed in a 
leather facade that yearned to be moistened. 

My sexual yoga was to start in 1964, after I 
learned to come to my senses with Holy Marijuana, 
after I listened to and learned from my tantric guru 
with the Siva tiger skin, after I dropped out of 
Harvard and psychology, resurrected my body, and 
moved on the journey to the East. 

Beloved Arthur, forgive my clumsy in-no-sense. 
Forgive our isolating theater set. Make your next 
trip up the mountain with Shakti and the two will 
be won. 

It is the world of your own 
soul that you seek. Only 
within yourself exists that 
other reality for which you 
long. I can give you nothing 
that has not already its be- 
ing within yourself. I can 
throw open to you no pic- 
ture gallery but your own 
soul. All I can give you is 
the opportunity, the im- 
pulse, the key. I can help 
you to make your own 
world visible. That is all. 

conflict. You are sincere 
And are being obstructed. 
A cautious halt halfway brings good 

Going through to the end brings 

It furthers one to see the great man. 
It does not further one to cross the 

great water. 



The Random Spinning of the Mind 
Must Be Centered by Prayer: 







February 1961 

Guide: richard alpert 2 

Oracle: XXV 


Innocence ( The Unexpected ) hh 

The Creative, Heaven 

The Arousing, Thunder 

Under heaven thunder rolls: 

All things attain the natural state of innocence, 

Thus the kings of old, 

Rich in virtue, and in harmony with the time, 

Fostered and nourished all beings. 













We had been running psychedelic sessions two 
and three a week sitting for eight hours while 
voyagers went out of their minds, holding their 
hands, murmuring supportive words (prayers) 
while they wrestled with the terror, and then 
watching them break through and roam free out 
beyond symbols. Breaking through! Wow! I've 
made it! I've arrived! So this is what it's all about! 
God! God! Yes, I understand! What a fool I've 
been! It's so beautiful! What a mess we make of it! 
Where is the ice? And how is Lucifer thus fastened 
upside down? This is what the Bible meant. It's all 
true. Oh, God! Thank God! I see the spirit descend- 
ing from heaven like a dove! It's all one! We're all a 
part! It flows! It's all love. It's all a game back there. 
Why do we play it so grimly? How funny! 

It was glorious work, this guiding trips, but 
draining and disillusioning. There was no way to 
predict where, in the million rooms of the ancient 
cerebral museum, the tripper would go. 

Consciousness, when freed from the mental 
chessgame, is completely vulnerable, completely 
reactive. The slightest accidental event would spin 
awareness off on a wild careen. Any action by any 
person in the session would dominate the direction. 
Some method of centering, gyroscoping the unpre- 
dictable rocket, was needed. 

The mind itself is such a limiting structure. The 
DNA code produces fleshly bodies composed of 
trillions of cells, infiltrated with billions of sensory 
cameras, integrated by a nervous system whose 
capacity for reception and storage of images is 
literally infinite. You can have an image of an 
image. A thought about a thought. 

The nervous system is an uncontrollable galaxy 
of mirrors within mirrors. The mind is a neurolog- 
ical method for screening out all but a few redun- 

February 1961 00 159 

dant, static, conditioned, socially consensual ideas. 
The mind is the repetitious narcotic, addictive, 
redundant neural looping designed by the DNA 
code to limit consciousness. Like heroin focuses the 
behavior of a junkie, so does the mind focus the 
billion-fold avalanche of neurological activity. 

During the psychedelic experience the heavy 
shackles of the mind are loosened. And then what? 
On the plus side, consciousness is free to move in 
any direction; but on the minus side, consciousness 
becomes helplessly vulnerable can be swung by 
the slightest pressure. A frown. A gesture. A word 
. . . and whoom! you are catapulted into unex- 
pected orbit. 

This being a guru for metaphysical voyages was 
turning out to be a complex and demanding task. 
It's a lot easier to be a holy man if your sacrament 
doesn't work. You just keep exhorting and threaten- 
ing and promising and, of course, blaming the 
failure on the shortcomings of the disciple. 

A sacrament which does work presents the chal- 
lenge for the guide. How can the visions be chan- 
neled? How can low-level paranoias and accidental 
orbits be avoided? How can the revelations be 
made to endure? 








Oh poet, I beseech you . . . lead me where you 
said but now awhile, so that I may behold St. 
Peters gate. Then he moved on: I followed in his 
steps. . . . ( Inferno II ) 

The ecstatic trip can be diverted by any transient 
event. The satori doesn't seem to last. There is 
always the person's mind ready to explain away 
paradise and pull him back to the old egocentric 

The rigidity of the normal mind was so different 
from the complete openness and vulnerability of 
the psychedelic situation. 

This suggestibility, which had obvious implica- 
tions for brainwashing, conversion, sudden behav- 
ior change, was illustrated in Richard Alpert's first 

I woke late that morning. Out the window, gray 
skies and swirling gusts of snow. It had been 







160 00 Random Spinning 















coming down all night. The drifts in the driveway 
were two feet high and three feet by the garage 
door. We were snowbound. 

After dinner Jack ran into the room, smiling and 
shouting. Guess who's here! I could hear Sue yip- 
ping in pleasure and when I got to the hallway, 
there was Dick Alpert with an arctic coat and fur 
gloves and boots plastered with snow, hugging the 
kids and filling the house with good feeling. 

We all trooped into the kitchen and stood him on 
a chair and Sue broomed off his trousers and Dick 
shouted, No sir, Jack, don't use the toilet brush. We 
were all laughing. Later Dick and I were sitting at 
the kitchen table drinking beer and talking about 
the sacred mushrooms. 

Dick was fascinated by the psychedelic research 
and eager to join. The first step for him was, of 
course, to start his own training. Learn how to 
explore the rooms of his own consciousness. When? 
Why not start now. Now? Are you ready? 

When I got up from my chair, he said, Oh, you 
really mean right now, and I said, Whenever you 
take them it's right now. I came down with the 
bottle and counted out six and poured them in 
Dick's hand and said, Chew them, and without 
pausing in the story he was telling, Dick popped 
them in his mouth. They taste great. Then he went 
on with the story. I took six, and a few minutes 
later Charlie came in grinning expectantly and re- 
fused politely twice before taking his six. 
They hit me 

first and 

The eerie physical chill 
Room beginning to glow 
Talk becoming underwater 

About fifteen minutes later Dick started to look 
silly and happy and Charlie's big pink cheeks began 
to radiate, and the gray green under his eyes, and 
we were all roaring with laughter, high, happy, 
drunken eagles. The kids burst into the kitchen in 
great spirits and the kitchen was exploding with 
love and family noise and chuckles, and Jack began 
to tell one of his endless stories. Sue was curled up 

February 1961 00 161 

in a kitchen chair reading a book about What To Do 
on Dates with Boys, with her hands in her ears 
pretending to be annoyed by the clatter. Rhona left 
with Charlie. Dick and I were roaring away. Jack 
left and then Sue left, and her friend Judy fol- 
lowed her, and Dick suddenly stopped laughing 
and the room was suddenly silent. Hey! Where did 
everyone go? Why did they leave? around the 


Did I say something wrong? Are they angry? for 


relow zero. Dick and I were deserted and fright- 
ened. Condemning silence. ... A cold wind swept 
across the kitchen, white explorers have rarely 


ness of the arctic. Charlie's coming back, though. 
Look, he left his cigarettes. But why has he taken so 
long? He's been gone for hours. I looked up at the 
clock hands which had moved five minutes in the 
last eight hours. Psychedelic time. He's gone from 
present time so he's been gone for centuries. 

The door opened and we both looked up hope- 
fully. Charlie! Surge of relief. Where the hell have 
you been? I went upstairs to take a leak. But why 
did you take so long? Long? I was gone for two 
minutes. Psychedelic time. 

Jack was back with Champ the dog. Champ had 
been a nuisance all night. Romping with the cat. 
Barking when Jack teased him. Knocking over the 
cat's milk bowl. Too much big, brown, romping 
animal in crowded kitchen. Twice Rhona had put 
him down in the cellar, and twice Jack had indig- 
nantly brought him back. Charlie was mad at 
Champ for leaving a turd on the guest-room rug. 
When Jack went upstairs, I put Champ outside. 
Dogs love the snow. 

Dick and I went back to mushroom talk. Enter 
Jack, accusing. Where's Champ now? We put him 
outside to run in the snow. Jack went out the 
hallway scolding us. The snow must have looked 
good to him. He announced that he was going to go 
out and run in the drifts with Champ. He went to 
get dressed and then was back with us, booted and 
gloved and his hood over his face, beaming with 
pleasure. I watched my son running highlegged 
















162 00 Random Spinning 















through the deep drifts, with Champ floundering 
behind him, barking and tail wagging. Heartbreak- 
ing great scene. Boy, dog, snow, satori. 

We were back on the Buddhist-humor jag. I was 
telling Dick the history of the mushroom research 
and the people wanting to get high for science, or 
to do science in order to get high, and I men- 
tioned the name Jack and right then the door 
opened and there was Jack, thumping off snow, 
ready to enter stage left, and I helped him get off 
his coat and gloves and I zipped down one of his 
boots and found it stuffed with snow and I zipped 
it right back up again and said, Take this snow 
back to the fellow what made it, we don't want it 
here, and everyone laughed and Jack said, Come on 
Dad, and Jack started telling his snow saga, how 
the drifts were higher than Champ and how 
Champ would disappear in the snow and how hard 
it was for poor Champ to jump from one hole to the 
next drift. 

Champ had Jack's sock in his mouth and when 
Jack pulled it out there was blood on the sock. We 
were alarmed but Jack calmed us down. Oh, that's 
nothing, I bleed all the time. When we heard this 
we began to laugh. Jack was pleased by the 
laughter but embarrassed. He shouted, Here 
Champie, Champie, come on Champie, and ran 
into the living room and when I came to ask him, 
Where do you bleed all the time, he was running 
round and round the long sofa chasing Champ. 

When we all got back to the kitchen I sat down. 
From behind the chair there came a fast panting 
series of whooshing sounds. What's that queer 
noise? Jack shrugged. Just Champ breathing hard. 
He's tired. Exit Jack to watch TV with girls. Back to 
the mushroom tales. We were building up to un- 
bearable good humor, putting our heads on the 
table to control the bodyshaking chuckles. 

Then I found myself looking at the dog. Champ 
was lying by the sink. His face was drawn back 
tight and strained, teeth gleaming, horrible crazy 
grin, and his body was shaking in fast, frantic 
breathing. Horrid wolf leer. Eyes bulging. God, 
that dog is sick, look at him. Laughter stops. Wow, 
you're right. Look at him breathe. He's having a 

February 1961 00 163 

We were all leaning forward. Looks like the first 
stage of distemper to me. Champ lay on his side, 
ribs heaving, eyes glaring, lips pulled back. Maybe 
it's rabies, said Dick. Don't they froth and spit 
blood. Blood, yes, there was blood on the sock. 
Champ stretched his legs out stiff. Look, it's a 

Charlie's calm voice. You're crazy. The dog's all 
right. He's just exhausted from running in the 


Oh, yeah? Fatigue doesn't give a dog the fits. 
And he's been breathing heavy for ten minutes. I 
remember asking about that noise when he and 
Jack came back in. Has he had rabies shots? That's 
fatal to a human being if he bites you. 

Charlie's voice. For God's sake, let's drop the dog 
issue and enjoy ourselves. He's had shots. He's not 
sick. He's just trying to rest and catch his breath. 

I moved over near the dog. Here, Champ, come 
on boy. Champ wagged his tail weakly and got up. 
He walked slowly across the kitchen while we 
watched him in horror. His flanks were heaving 
with tortured gasps and when he got to the butler's 
pantry, to the far dark corner, he fell heavily and 
closed his eyes, the symptoms are initial fever 


Boy, that animal is really sick, emaciation, lan- 
guor, disinclination to move. Go look and see 
if he is alive. Dick tiptoed to the pantry and poked 
his head around the door. He's still breathing hard. 


Charlie was laughing. You guys slay me. You're 
the end. Look what the drug does to you. You go 
around and make a big production of everything. 


worry when I go up to pee and now about the dog. 
Let's not ruin the fun. The dog is fine. I've raised 
dogs for years. I know when a dog is sick and when 
a dog is tired. 

Dick tiptoed again to the pantry and peeped 
around the corner. Boy, look at him. If he isn't a 
sick, sick dog then I've never seen one. there is 
















164 00 Random Spinning 
















cough. I walked over to look. Champ was lying in a 
gray, ragged heap. His head rested on the floor. His 
jowls hung down, the membrane lining the eyes 
assumes a dull leaden hue. His eyes gleamed in 
helpless, begging misery. His sides heaved. You're 
right. I've never seen anything so sick, but the 


Dick was looking intently into the pantry. God, 
look! There's mucus dripping from his nose. 
Mucus? Oh, he's dying. Mucus? Well, maybe it's 
just the breath from his nose, the discharge from 


Charlie hooted again. Sure it's breath from his nose. 
It's air. Don't you want the poor tired dog to 
breathe. You guys are too much, and the infil- 

the executive. Look. This is serious. The dog may 
be dying and we're all drugged to the ears and 
we're snowbound and can't get a car out. It's one 
o'clock and that's late to call a vet and the vet 
couldn't get here through the snow anyway, in 


as the prostration. We've got to pull ourselves 
together, this is serious. He was right. I was think- 
ing the same thing myself. I burst into uncontrol- 
lable laughter, the breathing becomes labored. 


lungs are seriously involved. I tried to talk about 
how serious it was but I was laughing so hard that 
the words wouldn't come out. The rest of them 
were howling in laughter, too. clots sometimes 

FORM IN THE PLEURA OR HEART. It's Serious, you're 

right, he's terribly sick. Compulsive chuckles. 

I walked into the pantry. Champ was a limp, 
boneless mass on the floor. His bright, gleaming 
brown coat had changed to a gray-black drab. He 
seemed to have shriveled. His fur was moist and 


exactly as it is and feels. I put my hand on his 
tortured head and the eyes opened and the tail 
wagged feebly. Oh God, he's begging for help and 
we're helpless, without the intervention of mind 


166 00 Random Spinning 















At the table Dick was pronouncing diagnosis. It's 
my opinion that we have a sick, sick dog on our 
hands. ( That animal is so weak he doesn't have the 
power to lift himself to his feet. ) animal symptoms 


of its diseased condition. Well, what shall we do? 
Puff, puff on pipe. I think we should wait and let 
nature take its course. He may pull out of it on his 
own. Dick looked very wise. I noticed Charlie 
stealing glances into the pantry. He was beginning 
to look worried. Sure. I know dogs. They get sick 
and crawl off to rest and don't want to be bothered 
and they sleep it off. He just doesn't want to be 
bothered. We can't do anything anyway, the con- 

Someone had closed the pantry door but we 
couldn't close out the thought of the animal dying 
in the next room while we argued helplessly and 
giggled. I walked over to the door and pushed into 
the pantry, debility rapidly ensues and emacia- 
tion is soon apparent. I was sure that the brown 
body would be lying there stiff and cold. No, the 
bedraggled rag was pulsing softly. He was alive, 
but just by a breath. His eyes were blank and 

I came back to the kitchen and stood with my 
hand on the refrigerator. Well, what do you think? 
I frowned and spoke slowly, clipping my words. 
convulsions generally come on. The dog is sick, 
terribly sick and he'll be dead by morning. And I 
don't see one thing we can do about it drugs or no 
drugs, snow or no snow. A long silence followed, in 


I got up. We need to call in a consultant. Let me 
go up and sound Jack out. Maybe he noticed 
something. Upstairs Sue and her friend and Jack 
were in pajamas in the TV room watching a twenty- 
year-old parlor comedy. Edward G. Robinson was a 
young-looking millionaire-host at a houseparty. I 
lay down next to Jack. His eyes were glued to the 

February 1961 00 167 

screen. When the commercial break came I started 
asking casual questions. No, he hadn't noticed any- 
thing wrong with Champ. Well, yes he had been 
breathing heavily. Were you worried about him? 
No. Are you worried now? No, well, a little if you're 
worried. Jack was watching the commercial and not 
very interested in talking. At the door I stopped. 
After the show is over, you guys come down to the 
kitchen. Sue nodded yes and blew a kiss to me, her 
eves still on the TV. 

Downstairs Dick had the yellow section of the 
phone book in his hand, the rare instances in 


surgeon. He was cross-examining Charlie. Logi- 
cally I know that Champ is all right. Maybe ex- 
hausted, but logically I'm convinced he's okay. Dick 
sighed in relief and reached behind to put the 
telephone book on the stove. But, emotionally, you 
guys have got me convinced that he's sick, in the 

MENT. Dick's eyebrows raised and he sighed in pain 
and reached for the phone book. 

Well, let's get our boots on and carry him down 
to the avenue and get a taxi, delay usually due to 


scene. Imagine it. Going to the vet's house. Waking 
him up. Three mushroomed escorts and the breath- 
ing dog. Well, we can give the vet some mush- 

We'll wait until the kids come down and let them 
look at him and then we'll call the taxi. Charlie 
made some tea and we joked around, laughing, but 
not as hard as before. Then feet drumming on the 
back stairs. Enter the kids, the violence or stupor, 

COVERY impossible. Sue and her friend, dressed in 
white and blue, clown pajamas, teen-age dream 
girls and Jack in red pajamas, and his black hair 















168 00 Random Spinning 



& LSD 











tousled. Have some hot chocolate, girls. Jack, 
perched on the kitchen stool, in high spirits telling 
us about the TV show. The girls moved around the 
kitchen opening the cocoa tin and the milk and 
stirring the milk on the stove, the slender means 


thedr diseases. The rest of us sat there enjoying 
their fun and feeling lousy about the horror in the 
pantry. I was thinking for sure that Champ was 
dead now and Dick said later that he was feeling 
the same thing, as well as the utilitarian influ- 

Noise from the pantry. Death convulsions. 
Champ struggling to his feet and walking slowly 
into the kitchen. Hardly enough strength to move. 


to die at the feet of the children. Jack looked down 
and saw Champ approaching. Champie! Come on 
old fellow. Good dog. Champ broke into a run, and 
his tail was wagging a mile a minute and he was 
wiggling in delight the way puppies and happy 
young dogs do and he jumped up, two paws 
against Jack, and Jack was rumpling his ears and 
Champ's tail was waggling so hard that when it 
bumped against my leg it kind of hurt and Susan 
shouted, Here, Champ, here, and the dog bounded 
across the room to her, squirming and wiggling, 
and I was staring with my mouth open and I 
looked over and saw the expression on Dick's face, 
stunned, and Charlie at the end of the table was 
grinning away in a disgusting smug manner and I 
began to laugh and Dick was laughing, all of us 
howling like idiots, and the kids looked up sur- 
prised and Susan began to frown her after-all- 
Daddy frown and I started to explain to the kids. 
Susan and Jack started laughing and by this time 
Champ was lying on the floor with a big bone 
grasped between his paws and was crunching and 
grinding away on it, his tail still wagging at all the 
noise and laughter. 

So we were back on the cloud again and we 
rolled along for another three hours. I told Dick 

February 1961 00 169 

more about our early adventures as scientists track- 
ing down the sacred mushrooms and we reviewed 
the great moments from past mushroom scenes and 
we were funny and wise to our hearts' content. At 
four o'clock Dick got his boots on and then stood 
for another hour rapping and laughing and we 
went to the front door and looked out down the 
long rolling front lawn all clean and glistening, and 
down at the trees hung heavy with white like a 
Christmas card etching, and Dick shook hands all 
around, grinning, and gave a shout and a big jump 
and started bounding down the snow slope and we 
stood watching him. When he reached the road 
below he waved up and we waved back. 

Lying in bed, I tried to figure out what we had 
learned that night. First the value of ritual. I was 
beginning to see that there are many ways that 
sacred mushrooms can be used. Your ritual decides. 
The basic man-woman love scene. And then the 
tribal fiesta scene. Like the one we had those nights 
in Allen Ginsberg's pad with Kerouac. Or the great 
tribal love feast with the Dionysius from Glouces- 
ter. And then there's the deep visionary heavy-dose 
experience in which you don't want other people 
around at all except for the wise loving curandero 
to guide you back when you want to return. 

And a second lesson. The size and shape of the 
room makes a difference. If we had been sitting in a 
line along the couch or scattered around the big 
living room, it wouldn't have swung so well. The 
idea of being enclosed together like in a sub- 
marine or in a spaceship or in the snowbound 
kitchen, pushed up close and facing each other 
around the table, closeness, intimacy, fighting the 
pull of the expanding disintegrating universe. 
When Beckett puts his characters on lovely wide 
beaches or deserted flat landscapes, he knows what 
he's doing. The separation and distance between 
his characters are heightened by the empty vistas. 
If you cram people together into smaller spaces, like 
molecules of gas, more heat generates in tighter 

And a third lesson. For group rites you need a 
love leader. A guru. A guide. A spiritually hip 
person whose love and energy and output batteries 
are charged up, so that his voice and his wit and his 














170 00 Random Spinning 













wisdom and his caring and his action keep the 
group consciousness from spinning off into eccen- 
tric whim. 

Man has received from heaven a nature innately 
good, to guide him in all his movements. By devo- 
tion to this divine spirit within himself, he attains 
an unsullied innocence that leads him to do right 
with instinctive sureness and without any ulterior 
thought of reward and personal advantage. This 
instinctive certainty brings about supreme success 
and "furthers through perseverance." ( I Ching XXV) 

And a fourth lesson, and this one not really 
understood yet the incredible suggestibility and 
the vulnerability of the brain. Under the psyche- 
delic trip your cortex is washed clean of the 
rituals and cliches. The empty mind. So far so good. 
But then if the situation or some strong-minded 
person in the situation strikes a posture, spins out 
an idea, well, you are much more likely to accept it 
and you can't call on any of your past cliches to 
argue yourself out of it. Jack Kerouac was right 
when he warned about psychedelic brainwashing. 
Once the concept of sickness-death was introduced, 
we all climbed into it and saw disease and pain. 

But what to do about this vulnerability? How 
could the trip be guided in the love-learning direc- 
tion? What could serve as compass to orient the 
session when consciousness spins out beyond sym- 
bols? How could reminders, maps be brought along 
on the voyage? And exactly which maps and re- 
minders could remain useful in those hurtling re- 
gions where routine game symbols were seen as 
your own consciousness talking back to yourself? 
The mocking mirror reflection of your own thought 

The answers to these questions (which were to 
preoccupy me for the better part of the next six 
years ) are spiritual planning and prayer. 

Planning the who, where, when, and why and 
how of the session. You don't make love in the 
turmoil of Times Square. Neither do you take LSD 
there. It's risky to make love with strangers. You 
don't have your mystical experiences with 
strangers. Six thousand years of sacred experimen- 

February 1961 00 171 

tation suggest how the environment can be 
arranged to produce the spiritual experience. 

With whom? Alone or with essence friends who 
share your spiritual aims. 

Where? In a setting free from secular distraction, 
profane pressure, accidental interruption. Since the 
dawn of human history such places have been the 
center of any civilized God-fearing way of life. 
They are called shrines, sacred groves, retreats, 
temples, holy places. 

When? At a sacred time dedicated to the spiri- 
tual quest. A sacred time is selected not by man's 
mind but by the greater, older energies seasonal, 
solar, lunar, planetary, menstrual. 

Why? To find God. To divest all the leathery, 
metal, armor plating and lie naked, exposed, for 
God to find you. To die and be reborn. 

How? Through prayer. Prayer is the art of com- 
municative union with all your inner selves. Prayer 
is compass and gyroscope. Prayer is the language 
that makes sense to your eye, ear, nose, tongue, 
touch; to your heart ( thump thump ) , to your lungs 
( inhale-exhale ) , to your bowels, to your genitals, to 
your ancient cells, to your ancient selves hairy, 
fanged, clawed, scaled, reptile, amphibious, pro to- 
zoic. Prayer is the energy language of God. 

The history of our research on the psychedelic 
experience is the story of how we learned how to 









innocence. Supreme success. 

Perseverance furthers. 

If someone is not as he should he, 

He has misfortune, 

And it does not further him 

To undertake anything. 




The Sacrament Can Liberate 
the Imprisoned: 






March 1961 G 


Guide : willy ( a black junkie ) ^ 

Oracle: XLIX O 





The Joyous, Lake Q 

Revolution (Molting) 

The Clinging, Fire 

Fire in the lake: the image of revolution. 
Thus the superior man 
Sets the calendar in order 
And makes the seasons clear. 




Second Annual Report; 
Psilocybin Rehabilitation 

All the professional work on 
this project was volunteer. 
The expenses for clerical 
assistance and salaries for 
ex-inmate workers were 
covered by generous dona- 
tions from The Uris Broth- 
ers Foundation, New York, 
and the Parapsychology 
Foundation, Eileen Garrett, 

Applications to three of- 
fices of the U.S. Public 
Health Service requesting 
support for continuing this 
project were refused. 

Exactly two years ago the 
Harvard Psilocybin Project 
initiated a research pro- 
gram at Massachusetts Cor- 
rectional Institution, Con- 
cord, designed to test the 
effects of consciousness-ex- 
panding drugs on prisoner 

The project was designed 
as a pilot study neces- 
sarily exploratory since 
little was known about the 
long-range application of 
the substances. 

During the fall and the winter of i960, much of my 
time and energy was going into the study of the 
effects of the psychedelic mushrooms. I was also 
carrying on an active program of lecturing, teach- 
ing, and field work in clinical psychology in the 
Harvard Graduate School. I had been brought to 
Harvard in 1959 in order to introduce existential- 
transactional methods for behavior change. After 
fifteen years of practicing psychotherapy and about 
ten years of doing research on psychotherapy, I had 
come to the conclusion that there was very little 
that one person called a doctor could do for an- 
other person called a patient by talking to him 
across a desk, or listening to him as he lay on a 
couch. I developed a lot of theories and a lot of 
methods on how behavior change could be brought 
about more effectively than the standard clinical 
interview method. 

There are two main points to the theories I de- 
veloped; first (transactional) I was convinced that 
the doctor had to suspend his role and status as a 
doctor, had to join the other person actively and 
collaboratively in figuring out the solution to his 
problem. As much as possible, the doctor had to 
turn over the responsibility to the man who knew 
most about the problem at hand, namely, the pa- 
tient. I developed many techniques for getting pa- 
tients to help each other. 

The second point in my theory (existential) was 
that the doctor has to leave the safety of his consult- 
ing room and get out there in the field where the 
so-called patient is having his unique problems, and 
where he is going to solve his problems. I saw the 
role of the doctor as that of a coach in a game in 
which the patient was the star player. The coach 
can help, can point out mistakes, can share his 
wisdom, but in the last analysis, the guy who does 

March 1961 00 175 

the job is the guy out there in the field, the so- 
called patient. 

I was enthusiastic about these theories because 
they worked, and because no joy in teaching can 
equal that thrill which comes when you watch 
someone who's been hung up, and blocked, and 
confused, and making a mess of things out there in 
the field suddenly learn how. All this had started 
happening before I got involved" in the drug re- 
search, and I had already become a controversial 
figure around the Boston area, because everything 
that I was saying made a tremendous amount of 
sense to students and patients, but the doctors, the 
psychiatrists, the social workers, the professors, the 
psychologists, were not so quick to accept these 
theories. I was asking them to give up the status 
and the omniscient position which they felt their 
training entitled them to. I asked them to turn over 
the authority and the star role in the game to the 

Times change, and with them their demands. Thus 
the seasons change in the course of the year. In the 
world cycle also there are spring and autumn in the 
life of peoples and nations, and these call for social 
transformations. ( I Ching XLIX ) 

The key issue was the use 
of a consciousness-ex- 
panding drug; but equally 
important was the philos- 
ophy underlying the re- 
search, which emphasized: 


Inmates were given respon- 
sibility for planning and 
evaluating the work. This 
was seen as preparation for 
assuming roles as respon- 
sible citizens in a demo- 
cratic society. 


The inmates were given all 
information relevant to their 
treatment. This was seen 
as a necessary step in in- 
creasing trust and self-re- 

I was taking one day off a week to drive down 
with two or three graduate students to New Bed- 
ford, Massachusetts, where we were working in an 
orphanage, teaching social workers and nuns to set 
up groups in which older kids would help younger 
kids, and in which children at every age level were 
encouraged to take more responsibility for running 
the school and planning their lives. 

We set up another project in a slum housing 
district in a Boston suburb. Here were hundreds of 
people who were bogged down socially and psycho- 
logically. They could not afford psychiatric help 
and there was none available for them. With an- 
other group of graduate students, I used to go 
down there one night a week with tape recorders 
and blackboards. We set up headquarters in one of 
the slum apartments and started teaching groups of 
the neighbors how they could help each other and 


The transcendental experi- 
ence provided by the drugs 
propels the subject beyond 
space, time, ego, culture, 
etc. The implications of this 
visionary experience were 
utilized in the program. 


Evidence shows that when 
subjects share an ego-shat- 
tering experience together 
they develop strong positive 
emotional bonds. 

176 00 Liberate the Imprisoned 


The most successful re- 
habilitation methods (A.A., 
Synanon group dynamic T 
groups, etc.) seem to be 
those which turn over re- 
sponsibility to the subjects 
themselves and which stim- 
ulate them to help each 
other. The drug experience 
facilitates this tendency. 


The model used was not 
doctor-patient or expert- 
client but that of human be- 
ings who believe in each 
other and want to help each 

The project developed the 
model of friends who are 
available to help group 
members stay out of trouble 
and maintain a responsible 
role in society. 

In our research we helped 
inmates get jobs, purchase 
union cards, made small 
loans and spent hours in 
friendly advising interaction. 


Since its initiation, the proj- 
ect has operated under the 
medical and psychiatric 
supervision of Dr. W. Madi- 
son Presnell. 

become psychiatrists for each other and develop 
some facility for solving their own problems. 

All this, of course, was very declasse at Harvard. 
Universities are supposed to be research institutes, 
and if you get too involved in service functions or 
helping people, you're considered a bleeding heart. 
I was able to justify the work in the orphanage, the 
work with alcoholics, the work in the slum projects, 
by using the word methodology. We weren't 
really trying to help these people. No sir, not us. 
We were trying to develop new techniques and 
scientific methods for changing psychotherapeutic 
theory. Of course, if people enjoyed it and got help, 
that was an interesting by-product which supported 
the method and the theory. It was all experimental, 
you see. It became a tradition in the center where I 
worked that any time they got a call from a do- 
good social service agency requesting Harvard's 
help in curing any sort of social disease, the request 
was likely to get bucked to me because they knew 
that this was my vice and my eccentricity. 

One day I got a note in my box saying that two 
men from the Department of Legal Medicine were 
interested in enlisting Harvard's help in the psycho- 
logical rehabilitation of prisoners. Now prison work 
is considered to be the least interesting, lowest 
status work you can do in the field of psychology, 
psychiatry, and sociology. The problems are hope- 
less. Criminals never change. The atmosphere is 
dreary and the academic rewards are slim. But 
when I found this little piece of paper in my box 
requesting an appointment from two officials from 
the Department of Legal Medicine, I chuckled all 
the way to my office because this was just the 
chance I was looking for. 

By this time, we had given the psychedelic mush- 
rooms to about a hundred people in a wide variety 
of circumstances, and we had learned a lot about 
the process. In spite of the bungling and the confu- 
sion and our ignorance, we still hadn't caused any 
damage to anyone and there were a lot of mistakes 
that we'd never make again. By this time we had 
learned a few things about how to run the sessions. 
About 90 percent of the people who were taking the 
magic mushrooms were reporting the most ecstatic 

March 1961 00 177 

and educational experience of their lives. The prob- 
lem was, there was no way to get any measurement 
as to how much good we were doing. There was no 
way to keep score. 

This of course is the main problem in the field of 
psychotherapy. You can develop a completely effec- 
tive method of treating people's psychological prob- 
lems, but there is no way you can prove it. You can 
work with one thousand people and help every one 
of them change his way of thinking and his way of 
acting, but there are no statistics (like hits, runs, 
and errors) with which to tabulate your score. 
The problem is that half the people you help are 
going to get better jobs, and half of them are going 
to quit the jobs they have. Half of them may 
increase the intimacy and closeness and meaning in 
their marriages, but the other half may leave their 
wives. Changing a person's psyche is one thing, but 
measuring results in an observable way is another 
thing. Because who's to say which behavior reflects 
growth and change. 

Here's where the prison came in. The prison is 
the ideal place to do a study in psychotherapy 
behavior change, because when you try to rehabili- 
tate prisoners, you've got an ironclad statistic you 
can work against. It's called the recidivism rate. 
When you are working with people outside, they 
may quit their job and join the Peace Corps, or 
they may quit their job and join the ministry, or they 
may quit the ministry and take up guitar, and you 
know about the growth of this person, but who else 
will believe it? But when you work with prisoners 
and you think you've helped them change, grow, 
and become more effective people, there's an easy 
way to tell. Where are they a year after you've 
finished with them? Are they back in jail, or are 
they making it on the outside? Prisoner rehabilita- 
tion offers the most objective check for someone 
who claims he can bring about change in behavior. 
In the prisons of Massachusetts the recidivism rate 
is about jo percent. Seven out of every ten men 
who leave prison, return. If you develop a new and 
surefire way of changing man's mind, the prison 
presents the toughest and cleanest test of your 
effectiveness. Can you keep him out of jail? That's 

Inmates received on the 
average four doses of psilo- 
cybin. Dosage ran from 20 
mg. in early sessions to 70 
mg. Now we employ 30 mg. 
as a standard, moderate 

Inmates were given person- 
ality tests before, and six 
months after, the program 
began. Significant de- 
creases in hostility, cyni- 
cism, social delinquency 
and irresponsibility were 

There seems to be general 
agreement that the effects 
of the program in-the-insti- 
tution were quite dramatic. 
The behavior and attitude 
of the project members be- 
came more mature and so- 

The post-release events, 
however, involved a differ- 
ent set of factors and re- 
quired several revisions in 
the program. 


The main conclusion of our 
two-year pilot study is that 
institutional programs, how- 
ever effective, count for 
little after the ex-convict 
reaches the street. The so- 
cial pressures faced are so 
overwhelming as to make 
change very difficult. 

We recognized very early in 
our work the advantages of 
a post-release program. 

178 00 Liberate the Imprisoned 

Our philosophic and theo- 
retical orientation led us to 
encourage inmates to plan 
and execute their own pro- 

We fondly hoped for a half- 
way house run by ex-in- 
mates along the lines of the 
successful Synanon pro- 

In June, 1961, a non-profit 
organization, Freedom Cen- 
ter, was set up to admin- 
ister the post-release pro- 
gram. Our hopes for a con- 
vict-run halfway house did 
not materialize. 

We had too few men in the 
Boston area and they were 
too caught up in the des- 
perate struggle to survive, 
to spare time, to help 

In 1961, as a beginning step 
toward a halfway house, we 
began Project Contact. The 
purpose of this project was 
to keep in regular contact 
with all group members. 

By these means we were 
able to reach ninety-one 
percent of ex-inmates living 
in Massachusetts. 

A newsletter and personal 
letters also kept up con- 
tact and seemed to be ef- 
fective in helping the re- 
habilitation spirit stay alive. 

why I wanted to get into the prison. 

Now, the reason the prison psychologists wanted 
to get into Harvard is that everyone in any aca- 
demic or professional activity in the Boston area 
has one way of measuring his success. Can he get 
on the Harvard payroll? The word Harvard in the 
Boston area is a powerful status symbol that oper- 
ates at every level of society. There are several 
thousand janitors around the Boston area, but if 
you are a janitor at Harvard, you're a prince among 
custodians. The same with a cook, the same with a 
gardener, the same with a psychologist. 

A week later, I found myself sitting at a corner 
table in the Harvard Faculty Club with two officials 
from the Massachusetts prison system. What they 
wanted was simple. They wanted to have Harvard 
graduate students assigned to the prisons as psy- 
chology interns with a possible long-range hope of 
getting themselves clinical professorships at Har- 
vard. And what I wanted was to get Harvard 
graduate students into the prisons because that's 
where I felt that all embryonic psychologists should 
be out in the field, dealing with real people and 
real problems. But there was something else I 
wanted and that was the chance to show that we 
could rehabilitate criminals by using the sacred 
mushrooms. And so the deal was made. I agreed to 
get Harvard approval to send graduate students to 
internships in the prison, and they agreed that if I 
could get the approval of the warden and the 
prison psychiatrists, I could give psychedelic mush- 
rooms to prisoners. 

About a week later I drove out to the prison. I 
wore my Harvard tweed suit and my button-down 
shirt. The warden was impressed and pleased. It 
wasn't often that Harvard professors came out to 
the prison to do research. But the whole thing 
hinged on the approval of the psychiatrists, because 
the sacred mushrooms were drugs and to work with 
drugs you had to have the medical okay. So, we 
walked down the hallway to the metal cage that let 
us into the prison. We opened up the first steel door 
and we stood in the anteroom. Then we rang a bell, 
a slot opened, and a guard looked at us and opened 
up the second metal door. We walked into the 

March 1961 00 179 

middle of the guardroom, across the prison yard to 
the hospital where we rang the bell and got peered 
at through the slot, heard the metal hinges creak, 
and walked into the prison hospital. We walked 
down the corridor to the psychiatrist's office and 
knocked on the door. After a minute, out walked 
one of the most entertaining and interesting men in 
American psychiatry. The first thing that struck me 
about the prison psychiatrist was that he was the 
best-dressed man I had ever seen. He was short, 
graceful, like a ballet dancer. The first Negro psy- 
chiatrist I had ever met. I spent an hour talking 
with Dr. Madison Presnell. He was no intellectual; 
he mispronounced some of the polysyllabic words, 
but he had a twinkle in his eye and a wise, cool way 
of looking at you that told you he was a man who 
had seen a lot and suffered a lot, and was still 
looking for the funniest and wisest part of everyone 
he came in contact with. 

In sizing up Dr. Presnell, I could say to myself a 
word I had heard used quite often in recent 
months. He was hip. It was obvious, too, that he 
had had some experience with psychedelic drugs. 
Which ones, he didn't make clear. He could have 
had LSD in medical school, or mescaline in psy- 
chiatric research, or maybe pot in the Village, but 
he knew what I was talking about. 

A few days later Dr. Presnell came over to Har- 
vard to meet some of my bosses, and the following 
Sunday he brought his beautiful and intelligent 
wife over to my house for cocktails. He sat down on 
a chair in my study, thought for a minute and said, 
"Your plan to give psychedelic drugs to prisoners is 
the best idea I've heard for dealing with an impos- 
sible problem. If you're smart enough and dedi- 
cated enough to know how to do it, you could make 
it work. There's one chance in a hundred you can 
pull it off, but if you do, you will have accom- 
plished more for American society and for prisoner 
rehabilitation than has been done in the last four 
thousand years since the code of Hammurabi. But 
it's risky business. You're bound to run into trouble. 
As a matter of fact, the more successful you are, the 
more trouble you're going to stir up. Because one 
thing I've learned as a prison psychiatrist is that 

But increased contact only 
strengthened our convic- 
tions that an A.A.-type or- 
ganization of ex-convicts is 

The initial step of finding 
the small nucleus of men 
who are ready to make the 
dedication needed has not 
yet been taken. 

As a possible solution we 
hope to be able to send 
two ex-inmates to spend a 
month living at Synanon 
House, Santa Monica. 

The Director of Synanon, 
Mr. Chuck Dederich, has ex- 
pressed interest in this 

The next step of selecting 
two ex-inmates to make the 
trip is waiting to be taken. 

Upon their return, Freedom 
Center is prepared to offer 
its resources to support a 
local self-help residence 


Plans and hopes are one 
thing, but the actual score 
card of accomplishments 
provides the crucial evi- 
dence. What are the avail- 
able results? 

180 00 Liberate the Imprisoned 


Thirty-five inmates and ten 
Harvard staff members have 
had group psilocybin ex- 
periences at Concord. 

There were 131 inmate in- 
gestions and 37 staff in- 
gestions, a total of 168 ex- 
periences. There were no 
episodes of violence, last- 
ing disturbances or nega- 
tive after-effects. 

Physically and psychologi- 
cally there is clear-cut evi- 
dence that in a supportive 
environment the drug effect 
is safe and positive. 

Those interested in using 
psilocybin for research or 
therapy purposes can pro- 
ceed with confidence if 
their program is open, sup- 
portive, collaborative. 


Forty-five percent of the en- 
tire inmate group clearly 
underwent a mystical, tran- 
scendent, death-rebirth ex- 

This figure should be modi- 
fied, however. The results 
for running sessions im- 
proved so that 100% of our 
recent groups were under- 
going transcendent experi- 

society doesn't want the prisoner rehabilitated, and 
as soon as you start changing prisoners so that they 
discover beauty and wisdom, God, you're going to 
stir up the biggest mess that Boston has seen since 
the Boston Tea Party. I'll give you medical cover- 
age and I'll be glad to serve as psychiatric consul- 
tant and I'll back you up all the way with the 
wardens, with the guards, with the mental health 
department, but sooner or later, as soon as they see 
the thing you do is working, they're going to come 
down on you the newspaper reporters, the bu- 
reaucrats, and the officials. Harvard gives drugs to 
prisoners! And you're going to have to do the 
impossible you're going to have to cure prisoners 
with your left hand, and that's something that's 
never been done before, and you're going to have 
to hold off the entire bureaucracy of the state of 
Massachusetts with , your right hand, and that's 
never been done before, not even by a Kennedy. 
So, I'll back you all the way, until you make a 
mistake, and when you make that mistake, and they 
all start coming down at you, exactly at that point, 
I'm going to walk out because I'm not you. I'm not 
the rtew Freud, and I have no ambitions to play 
that game. I'm a Negro from the South with a 
degree from a second-class medical school, with a 
wife and two kids whom I'm trying to support and 
educate in an insane society, and I'll help you all 
the way to win, but I'm not going to lose with 

Political revolutions are extremely grave matters. 
They should be undertaken only under stress of 
direst necessity, when there is no other way out. 
Not everyone is called to this task, but only the man 
who has the confidence of the people, and even he 
only when the time is ripe. He must then proceed in 
the right way, so that he gladdens the people and, 
by enlightening them, prevents excesses. Further- 
more, he must be quite free of selfish aims and 
must really relieve the need of the people. Only 
then does he have nothing to regret. ( I Ching XLIX ) 

And so it was settled. Dr. Presnell would line up 
volunteers in the prisoner population for the sacred 

March 1961 00 181 

mushroom project and I would go back to Harvard 
and get graduate students who would volunteer 
their time and energy and their nervous systems to 
take drugs with maximum security prisoners at the 

A few days later I was in my office when a knock 
came on the door, and I was visited by a graduate 
student named Ralph Metzner. Metzner had a rep- 
utation for being one of the smartest students in the 
department. He was a graduate of Oxford, an 
experimentalist, a precise, objective, and apparently 
very academic young man. He said he had heard 
about the prison project and he wanted to work 
with me on it. My first reaction was that Metzner 
was too academic, too dainty-British, too bookish, 
too ivory tower, to walk into a prison and roll up 
his sleeves and take drugs that would put him out 
of his mind, with rough and tumble prisoners. 
Metzner said he wanted to learn how. Then I said, 
Before you can give drugs and take drugs with 
anyone else, you have to have some experiences 
yourself. Are you ready to take mushrooms? He 
was ready. As a matter of fact, that's exactly what 
he wanted to do, to have a session. 

And so it happened that on March 12, 1961, at 
my home in Newton, Massachusetts, I ran a session 
for Dr. Presnell and his beautiful wife, for Ralph 
Metzner and his girl friend and another graduate 
student, Gunther Weil and his wife, Karen. This 
was the fifty-second time I had taken psilocybin 
with other people. The notes on the session say, 
This training session was designed to introduce 
several new subjects to the sacred mushroom expe- 
rience under supportive circumstances. 

The session took place in my study. Since this 
was an exploratory training session, I told the par- 
ticipants that they should relax, have a good time, 
be entertained, and learn what they could. Dr. 
Presnell was the dominating factor in this session. 
His joking and warm attitude created a benign 
atmosphere. Each new subject had his spouse or a 
trusted friend present. After a long period of 
happy, relaxed giggling, the joking became more 
and more philosophic. Members of the group 
would leave the room periodically to be by them- 

The life-changing therapeu- 
tic effects of the psilocybin 
experience do not last for 
more than seventy-two 
hours unless the subject is 
in a situation which en- 
courages him to maintain 
his emotional and spiritual 

Therefore, psilocybin must 
be used in on-going pro- 
grams of therapy or self- 
help. When employed in 
such programs, psilocybin 
is a dramatically useful, 
educational, and rehabilita- 
tive instrument. 

If the subject shares time 
and space subsequently 
with those who have had 
the experience, his chances 
of maintaining the insights 
are increased. 

The actual scoreboard is 
difficult to interpret. The 
aims of this project were: 
1) to help keep men on the 
street and 2) to help them 
in constructive contact with 
each other. 

January 15, 1963: 

Percentage of men released 
who are now on street . . . 

Percentage of men now 
back for technical parole 
violation ... 19. 

Percentage of men now 
back for new crimes ... 8. 

182 00 Liberate the Imprisoned 

If ex-convicts who have had 
a psilocybin experience in 
a supportive environment 
meet regularly after release 
(these statistics suggest 
once a month), the chances 
of their remaining on the 
street will be dramatically 

The Harvard staff members 
Dr. Ralph Metzner, Gun- 
therWeil, Dr. Ralph Schwitz- 
gebel, Jonathan Clark, 
David Kolb, Michael Hol- 
lingshead, Kathy Harris, Dr. 
Timothy Leary who con- 
tributed several thousands 
of hours each to this work, 
cared deeply and suffered 
keen disappointments as 
they witnessed the failures. 

But the results summarized 
in this report offer some 
consolation that the time 
shared in psilocybin experi- 
ences, and the meetings in 
and out of Concord were 
educational, and somewhat 


Thirty-one inmates of MCI 
Concord participated in a 
rehabilitation program com- 

. . . psilocybin administered 
in a supportive setting, and 
. . . volunteer contact of 
inmates after release. 

selves or to talk in pairs, but my study operated as 
the center for the session. There were no discordant 
notes, no anxiety, depression, or friction. We were 
finally getting to the point where we knew how to 
set up a pleasant session. Each member of this six- 
person group reported a deep, ecstatic, educational 

A few days after this session, Ralph Metzner, 
Gunther Weil, and I drove out to the concrete 
prison and met with the six volunteers who had 
been selected by Dr. Presnell. We sat around a 
table, in a dreary hospital room with gray walls, 
black asphalt floor, bars in the windows, telling six 
skeptical and suspicious men about an experience 
which could change their lives. 

The first psychedelic session in the prison was 
well planned. The first thing we did was to tell the 
prisoners as much as we could about the psyche- 
delic experience. We brought in books for them to 
read, reports by other subjects, articles which de- 
scribed the terrors as well as the ecstasies of the 
experience. We spent most of the time describing 
our own experiences and answering groping ques- 
tions. We made it very clear to the prisoners that 
this was nothing we were doing to them. There was 
no doctor-patient game going here. We would take 
the drugs along with them. We were doing nothing 
to them that we wouldn't willingly, happily have 
done to ourselves. We also made a research con- 
tract with the prisoners. We said something like 
this, We want to find out how and how much you 
change during this experience. For this reason, we 
want you to take a battery of psychological tests 
before you eat the mushrooms. Then, after three or 
four sessions with the sacred mushrooms, we'll give 
you the tests again. The aim here is to find out how 
you change, like you weigh yourself on a scale 
before and after you go on a diet. After you've 
taken the tests, we'll give you the results. We'll go 
over the tests with you and explain how you were 
before and how you changed. Nothing in this pro- 
ject is going to be a secret. We've told you every- 
thing we know about the drugs before you take 
them and we'll tell you everything we know about 
you after you finish your sessions. 

March 1961 00 183 

That sounded like a good deal to them, and the 
following week each prisoner was administered a 
long and complicated battery of psychological tests. 

And it happened that on March 27, 1961, in the 
large ward room in the prison infirmary in Con- 
cord, Massachusetts, five prisoners and three Har- 
vard psychologists met for a trip. In the morning I 
was to turn-on with three convicts, and the two 
other prisoners and the two graduate students 
would act as observers. Then in the afternoon 
Gunther Weil and Ralph Metzner and the two 
observing prisoners were to take the drug, and the 
rest of us were to act as guides. We brought a 
record player, tape recorder, and some books of 
classical art with us. Otherwise the room was bleak 
in decor, with four beds, a large table, and a few 
chairs. At 9:35 in the morning the bowl of pills was 
placed in the center of the table. I was the first one 
to turn-on in the prison project. I reached over, 
took fourteen milligrams of psilocybin. Then I 
handed the bowl to the prisoner next to me, and he 
took twenty milligrams and passed it on to the guy 
next to him who took twenty, and the next man. 
Then we pushed the bowl to the middle of the 
table and sat back to see what would happen. 

I'll never forget that morning. After about half an 
hour, I could feel the effect coming up, the loosen- 
ing of symbolic reality, the feeling of humming 
pressure and space voyage inside my head, the 
sharp, brilliant, brutal intensification of all the sen- 
ses. Every cell and every sense organ was humming 
with charged electricity. I felt terrible. What a 
place to be on a gray morning! In a dingy room in a 
grim penitentiary, out of my mind. I looked over at 
the man next to me, a Polish embezzler from Worces- 
ter, Massachusetts. I could see him so clearly. I 
could see every pore in his face, every blemish, the 
hairs in his nose, the incredible green-yellow 
enamel of the decay in his teeth, the wet glistening 
of his frightened eyes. I could see every hair in his 
head, as though each was as big as an oak tree. 
What a confrontation! What am I doing here, out 
of my mind, with this strange mosaic-celled animal, 
prisoner, criminal? 

I said to him with a weak grin, How are you 
doing, John? He said, I feel fine. Then he paused 

The evidence after two 
years of operation suggests 
that the drug is safe, that 
the experience temporarily 
provides personal and spir- 
itual insight, and has some 
effect in keeping inmates 
out of prison. 

A listing of the major mis- 
takes and improvements in 
method will be found in two 
publications, one in press 
and one in preparation. 


From the Boston Herald 
and Traveler: 


Insight drugs called boon 

IFIF is the Internal Federa- 
tion for Internal Freedom, a 
non-profit organization in- 
volving the use of con- 
scious-expanding drugs. 

The supply of the drug has, 
temporarily at least, been 
cut off because the medical 
supervision required by fed- 
eral regulation in the ad- 
ministration of the drugs for 
research has been with- 

184 00 Liberate the Imprisoned 

Backing Withers 

And the group has been 
asked to vacate the medi- 
cal building in Charles 
River Park for lack of medi- 
cal affiliation. 

In addition, the supportive 
backing at the academic 
level, principally at Harvard, 
has been withering. 

But troubles or no, IFIF and 
the zealous psychologists 
dedicated to the proposition 
that widespread use of 
drugs such as psilocybin 
will pretty much cure the 
intellectual ills of mankind, 
are news. 

The latest concerns a study 
made on the religious im- 
pact the drug ingestion 
made on some 33 convicts 
at the Concord reformatory 
in which eight Harvard psy- 
chologists worked on the 
pilot program. 

Dr. Timothy Leary, one of 
the co-founders of IFIF, 
wrote the report on the pilot 
program which began in 
mid-March of 1961 and con- 
tinued for almost two years. 

Beginning with six convicts, 
a senior investigator, and 
two graduate students, the 
study came to include 33 
convicts and eight psy- 
chologists. All participated 
in the drug ingestion. 

for a minute and asked, How are you doing, Doc? 
I was about to say in a reassuring psychological 
tone that I felt fine, but I couldn't, so I said, I feel 
lousy. John drew back his purple-pink lips, showed 
his green-yellow teeth in a sickly grin, and said, 
What's the matter, Doc? Why you feel lousy? I 
looked with my two microscopic retina lenses into 
his eyes. I could see every line, yellow spider webs, 
red network of veins gleaming out at me. I said, 
John, I'm afraid of you. His eyes got bigger, then he 
began to laugh. I could look inside his mouth, 
swollen red tissues, gums, tongue, throat. I was 
prepared to be swallowed. Then I heard him say, 
Well that's funny, Doc, 'cause I'm afraid of you. 
We were both smiling at this point, leaning for- 
ward. Doc, he said, why are you afraid of me? I 
said, I'm afraid of you, John, because you're a 
criminal. He nodded. I said, John, why are you 
afraid of me? He said, I'm afraid of you, Doc, 
because you're a mad scientist. Then our retinas 
locked and I slid down into the tunnel of his eyes, 
and I could feel him walking around in my skull 
and we both began to laugh. And there it was, that 
dark moment of fear and distrust, which could have 
changed in a second to become hatred and terror. 
But we made the love connection. The flicker in the 
dark. Suddenly, the sun came out in the room and I 
felt great and I knew he did too. 

Fire below and the hike above combat and des- 
troy each other. So too in the course of the year a 
combat takes place between the forces of light and 
the forces of darkness, eventuating in the revolution 
of the seasons. Man masters these changes in 
nature by noting their regularity and marking of 
the passage of time accordingly. In this way order 
and clarity appear in the apparently chaotic 
changes of the seasons, and man is able to adjust 
himself in advance to the demands of the different 
times. (IChingXLIX) 

We had passed that moment of crisis, but as the 
minutes slowly ticked on, the grimness of our situ- 

186 00 Liberate the Imprisoned 

Test Called Success 

In Dr. Leary's opinion, the 
experiment was an un- 
qualified success. Ingestion 
of the drugs produced sud- 
den insight that one has 
been living in a narrow 
space-time-self context. 

"It's all a game, Doc, cops 
and robbers we're such 
tough guys," he quotes one 
convict as saying. "We take 
it all so seriously as though 
that's all there is to life." 

He reports also of frequent 
mystical insight among the 
convicts, particularly the 
death-rebirth experience. 

"I felt helpless and wanted 
to murder you guys who did 
it to me; then I realized it 
was my own mind doing it; 
it's always been my own 
mind imagining troubles 
and enemies," he quotes 
one convict. 

Over half the hard-bitten 
convicts displayed a sud- 
den swing towards in- 
creased religious under- 
standing and need, accord- 
ing to the study report. 

Return Rate Drops 

More important, perhaps, in 
the long run is the fact that 
the recidivism rate among 
the convicts who have been 
discharged dropped sharply. 

ation kept coming back in microscopic clarity. 
There were the four of us, turned-on, every sense 
vibrating, pulsating with messages, two billion 
years of cellular wisdom, but what could we do 
trapped within the four walls of a gray hospital 
room, barred inside a maximum security prison? 
Then, one of the great lessons in my psychedelic 
training took place. One of the turned-on prisoners 
was a Negro from Texas, jazz saxophone player, 
heroin addict. He looked around with two huge 
balls of ocular white, shook his head, staggered 
over to the record player, put on a record. It was a 
Sonny Rollins record which he'd especially asked us 
to bring. Then he lay down on the cot and closed 
his eyes. The rest of us sat by the table while metal 
air from the yellow saxophone spinning across 
copper electric wires bounced off the walls of the 
room. There was a long silence. Then we heard 
Willy moaning softly and moving restlessly on the 
couch. I turned and looked at him and said, Willy, 
are you all right? There was apprehension in my 
voice. Everyone in the room swung his head anx- 
iously to look and listen for the answer. Willy lifted 
his head, gave a big grin, and said, Man, am I all 
right? I'm in heaven and I can't believe it! Here I 
am in heaven man, and I'm stoned out of my mind, 
and I'm swinging like I've never been before and 
it's all happening in prison, and you ask me man, 
am I all right. What a laugh! And then he laughed 
and we all laughed and suddenly we were all high 
and happy and chuckling at what we had done, 
bringing music, and love, and beauty, and serenity, 
and fun, and the seed of life into that grim and 
dreary prison. 

Well, the session went on and on. There were 
high points and low points, ecstasies and terrors. 
My friend John, the Polish man, got sick and 
vomited. We all got pretty thoughtful. Why are 
there prisons? Why do some men put the warm 
cellular envelopes of their fellowmen in metal 
cages? What were we doing here? Then after a few 
hours, Ralph and Gunther and the two remaining 
convicts turned-on. Gunther was silly and acting 
like a hipster, and Ralph fell down on the bed and 
experienced visions of Blakean terror. Two pris- 

188 00 Liberate the Imprisoned 

"Seventy-five percent are 
holding their own against 
stiff winds and treacherous 
currents," Dr. Leary says. 

The expected return rate 
of ex-convicts to the Con- 
cord reformatory would be 
between 50 and 70 percent. 

But even in his claimed 
success among the con- 
victs, Dr. Leary runs up 
against a doubting Thomas 
in the reformatory Superin- 
tendent Edward Grennan. 

Control Questioned 

Grennan feels that study 
was done without a control 
and was therefore unscien- 

"These men received an ex- 
tremely high degree of per- 
sonal attention," he said. 
"The psychologists even set 
up a kind of criminal AA for 
the paroled prisoners in 
Cambridge. They made 
themselves available to 
them around the clock." 

"I feel that the same rate 
of recidivism might have 
been achieved if the same 
concentration and attention 
were given to any parolee 
by highly placed members 
in any community." 


oners came and held his hand and guided him 
through. Dr. Presnell would check in every now 
and then, walk around the room like a dainty, 
graceful cat, not saying much, but taking it all in. 
And the guards came in bringing metal trays of 
food which we all looked at with disbelief, the way 
you'd look at a plate of worms or a pot of sawdust 
served up to you on a plate, and someone said, 
Man, do they call that food? Since we Harvard 
people weren't allowed to eat prison food at the 
expense of the state, Dr. Presnell went out and got 
milkshakes and sandwiches which we all shared, 
and we had never tasted food so good. 

Then at five o'clock, there was a bang on the 
door, and we opened it and the guards came in and 
said, Time is up, men. Back to the prison ward. 
Ralph, Gunther, and I went with the five prisoners 
back to the lockup part of the hospital and sat there 
on beds, and smoked, and laughed, and compared 
notes on what we'd seen, and where we'd been. 
Then it was time for us to go. We shook hands, said 
we'd be back tomorrow, and Ralph and Gunther 
and I walked out of the prison, across the dark 
yard, rang the bell, and waited until the iron doors 
opened into the guardroom, and then across the 
guardroom, through the two metal doors, and 
down the metal stairs, past the clanking, steaming, 
old-fashioned radiators, and then we were outside. 
Ralph and Gunther got into their car and drove 
back to Cambridge, and I got in my car and drove 
to Newton. 

As I rode along the highway, the tension and the 
drama of the day suddenly snapped off and I could 
look back and see what we had done. Nothing, you 
see, is secret in a prison, and the eight of us who 
had assembled to take drugs together in a prison 
were under the microscopic gaze of every convict in 
the prison and every guard, and within hours the 
word would have fanned through the invisible net- 
work to every other prison in the state. Grim Wal- 
pole penitentiary. Gray, sullen-walled Norfolk. 

Did you hear? Some Harvard professors gave a 
new drug to some guys at Concord. They had a 

March 1961 00 189 

ball. It was great. It's a grand thing. It's something 
new. Hope. Maybe. Hope. Perhaps. Something 
new. We sure need something new. Hope. 

revolution. On your own day 

You are believed. 

Supreme success, 

Furthering through perseverance. 

Remorse disappears. 



And the Prisoners Will Become Priests : 








Spring 1961 dd 

Guides ; jim berrigan, don sainten S 

Oracle: XIII X 

Fellowship with Men H 

The Creative, Heaven 

The Clinging, Flame 

Heaven together with fire: 
The image of fellowship with men. 
Thus the superior man organizes the clans 
And makes distinctions between things. 


TRIP 10 

Prisoner Trip Report #1 : 

My experience while under 
psilocybin was so much 
more than I expected. To 
begin with I was completely 
unprepared for what was to 
happen, what changes were 
to take place in my beliefs, 
re-evaluating myself to the 
point of nothingness. 

My whole way of life was so 
transparent while under 
psilocybin, that coming out 
from under the mushroom, 
I was in a deep state of 
shock. I use deep shock 
figuratively. This thirst for 
knowledge I had ... is 
. . . was ... it seems so 
meaningless now. More so 
because I was applying it 
to some abstract idea, some 
complicated intrigue of my 

As to my first awareness of 
my real self, it was when 
my conversing partner, 
Smithy, was searching for 
a complicated word in re- 
gards to something that 
needed a very simple word. 
It was then this idea flashed 
thru my mind, could it pos- 
sibly be that what I was 
looking for is so very simple 
also. And then to my utter 
amazement, I realized I 
wasn't fighting the world, 
I was fighting myself. 

The first psychedelic session at the prison set up 
powerful repercussions. 

First there was the effect on the little group of 
voyagers. Strong bonds had developed. We had 
been through the ordeal together. We had gone 
beyond the games of Harvard psychologist and 
convict. We had stripped off social facade and 
faced fear together and we had trusted and 

I felt at home in the prison. It always works this 
way after a good trip. You die and then you are 
reborn. The place of your rebirth is home. This is 
not metaphorical it is a neurological reality. 

During the psychedelic session the nervous sys- 
tem returns to that state of flux and unity-chaos of 
infancy and spins beyond familiar time-space 
where there is no home because all is a two-billion- 
year process of homing. As the session ends, one is 
reborn ( smoothly or with a jolt ) . This is the period 
of reentry the return from space to the planet. 
That place to which you return becomes neurologi- 
cally engraved in your subsequent consciousness. 
It is a new "home" a new neurological center. In 
scientific papers we described this as the process of 
re-imprinting. A rewiring of the nervous system. 

There is a strong biochemical attachment to the 
people, the objects, the scents and sights, of the 
place to which you return. This accounts for the 
LSD cult phenomenon. 

In our case the hospital room of the prison had 
become a center. A home. It was wired into my 

The morning after the session, driving back to 
the prison was like going back to some sacred place 
in my skull. 

Meeting the prisoners was like a family reunion. 

Our status in the prison was changed. Glances of 

Spring 1961 00 193 

respect and interest. Prisoners approached us as we 
walked across the yard to ask if they could sign up 
for the mushrooms. Guards and parole officers 
stopped us to ask questions or to request that a 
favorite prisoner be admitted to the psychedelic 

We spent the next two weeks discussing the 
reports that the prisoners wrote and comparing 
notes on the trip. Then we ran a second session. 
This time the prisoners were more sophisticated. 
There was no sitting around on chairs in nervous 
anticipation. As soon as the energy began to radiate 
through their bodies they headed for the cot, fell- 
out, and closed their eyes. For the next two or three 
hours they lay engulfed in the visions, occasionally 
sitting up to smile or make some Zen comment. The 
Harvard guides changed the records and sat 
quietly, watching the cellular clocks in the room 
whirring, occasionally approaching the voyagers, a 
hand on the shoulder, a smile, the cosmic nod of 
affirmation. And the looks of wonder and sharing. 

Oh Doc! Amazing. This stuff is amazing. 

It's all always amazing, Tony. Do you want any- 

Yeah, Doc. I'm thirsty. 

I brought the glass of water. In sitting up, Tony 
spilled a few drops. His eyes riveted on the little 
wet puddle on the gray blanket. 

Water, he said wondering. Life and water. 
Where does the water come from, Doc? We are 
water creatures, aren't we? Yeah, my body is the 

Sometimes the microscopes of inner vision 
focused on their lives. Jerry huddled under his 
blanket sobbing, his head shaking back and forth. 
Oh Doc, what a selfish fool I've been! My family. 
Wasted years. Wasted years. Will I get another 
chance, Doc? Can I go back and try it again? 

Nine in the fourth place means: 

He climbs up on his wall; HE CANNOT ATTACK. 

Good fortune. ( I Ching XIII ) 

It keeps going, Jerry. Every moment it starts all 
over again. 

Should I retain this ethical 
position, or disregard it for 
the present, to let him un- 
derstand and see how much 
more there is to life, than 
living behind these walls in 
a state of mental and physi- 
cal stagnation. 

And finally he came to the 
decision, to show me how 
much I was missing with 
just the be feeling, and not 
being there feeling, let me 
expound on this for a mo- 

Smithy asked me if I missed 
these different things out- 
side of prison, that he and 
everyone else was enjoy- 
ing, and my answer was 
something to the effect, oh! 
But I have these same 
things you have, by just 
substituting the being there 
feeling with the be feeling, 
then he asked me to teach 
him this feeling, because 
with this feeling, Smithy be- 
lieved he would be able to 
solve the many problems of 

The possibility of saving so 
much money, pain, mis- 
takes, etc., seemed to him 
to be so important, and to 
me so ridiculous, that I 
explained to him that he 
was not ready yet, and to 
this answer he became so 
sad and unhappy, that I ex- 
plained to him there wasn't 
to my knowledge anything 
to take the place of the be- 
ing there feeling. 

194 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

From there we concen- 
trated on communication 
with the lower levels of in- 
telligence. Smithy's idea 
was to find a way to plug 
into their minds for this 
knowledge we need to at- 
tain this high pinnacle of 
knowledge, and Smithy, be- 
lieving if we were the su- 
perior minds, wasn't it up 
to us to find a way of com- 
municating with them, and 
not they with us. 

But I disagreed, I believed 
we should first reach this 
high level of knowledge, 
and then if we have any 
desire to learn what they 
have, fine, if not it wouldn't 
make any difference any- 
way. But as usual Smithy's 
clear and logical mind took 
over, he showed me how 
much fuel could be used 
from each man's mind 
along the way. And I agreed 
to this idea. 

So in summation, we found 
that knowledge alone was 
meaningless, knowledge 
must have fuel from these 
other channels. These 
everyday pleasures, the 
loves, the sadness, the 
small problems. These to- 
gether with knowledge 
would balance out, to give 
man the proper guide in 
life, without them, man 
would become hopelessly 

We arranged the room in sacred design. Incense. 
Candles. The convicts would lie watching the flick- 
ering flame. Outside the barred windows they 
could see the prison wall and the guard tower. 
Candlelight and the flash of sunlight on the guard- 
ing rifles. 

Why are there prisons, Doc? What are we doing 
here? Wanted men. It's insane, Doc. We're all in- 
sane. Us cons and the cops and the guards. How 
did we get into this? 

Each session was a cosmic drama. Confusion. 
Humor, lots of laughter. Olympian multi-level god 
laughter. Loneliness. Tears. Terrors. Suspicion. 

After the third session the convicts repeated the 
personality tests to measure changes. We brought 
the test folders into the hospital room and handed 
them to the inmates. No secrets. We explained what 
the tests measured and what the results meant. 

They had changed. Showed less depression, hos- 
tility, antisocial tendencies, more energy, responsi- 
bility, cooperation. The objective indices so dear to 
the heart of the psychologist had swung dramatic- 
ally and significantly in the direction of increased 
mental health. 

By explaining their test results to them and 
letting them handle their own test scores, we were 
training them the same way we trained Harvard 
graduate students in psychodiagnostics. To learn 
what the test meant. How they were changing. The 
prisoners were becoming psychologists. 

They loved it. Fierce debates about personality 
characteristics. The psychiatric diagnostic game be- 
ing played by the cons. 

After a few weeks of discussion we planned with 
the inmates the continuation of research. The con- 
victs were to select the new recruits for the group. 
They would learn how to administer the psycholog- 
ical tests. They would give the orientation lectures. 
They would run the project. 

Here the reconciliation that follows quarrel moves 
nearer. It is true that there are still dividing walls 
on which we stand confronting one another. But 
the difficulties are too great. We get into straits, and 

Spring 1961 00 195 

this brings us to our senses. We cannot fight, and 
therein lies our good fortune. ( I Ching XIII ) 

At this point we ran into prison politics. The 
social structure of a prison is like any village. There 
is a very explicit hierarchy. The inmates themselves 
run the prison. All the guards and administrators 
do is keep the peace, but the gut, muscle, moment- 
to-moment space-time issues are determined by 

The inmates belong to invisible social clans and 
the clan leader decides what happens. If the warden 
and guards violate the dignity and prerogatives of 
the convict leaders there is trouble. And all admin- 
istrators want to avoid trouble. 

One day when we walked into the hospital there 
were two new inmate medical attendants. They 
were men in their forties. Tough, proud, hard cus- 

They walked up to me. Doctor Leary, I'm Jim 
Berrigan. This is Don Sainten. We'd like to talk to 

Fine, but I'm late for the project meeting. Maybe 

No. The meeting can wait. Let's talk now. I 
looked at them closely. They were men of confi- 
dence and dignity, power-holders, leaders. Dress 
them differently and they could be sea captains or 
chief surgeons or Broadway promoters. 

I nodded and they motioned me down the hall. 
We walked into the hospital kitchen. I'd never been 
there before. Don walked to the stove and turned 
on the burner under a coffee pot. Bacon and eggs, 
Doc? No thanks. Coffee will do. 

Jim and Don sat on the high serving counter and 
grinned. We've been watching this mushroom busi- 
ness, Doc, and it looks pretty good to us and we've 
decided to join your project. We'll be a lot of help 
to you. We've arranged transfers to the hospital so 
we can be right on call. 

The words were cool and cocky and seemed to 
leave no room for question. 

I explained that the decisions about who joined 
the project were made by the convicts in the group. 
I couldn't interfere but I'd pass their names on to 
the inmate planning group. 

The most sobering effect 
the mushroom had on me, 
was midway in our conver- 
sation. I asked Smithy if 
he realized that we had not 
mentioned God once 
Smithy's answer verbatim, 
(Have we done anything 
else). One could not realize 
the meaning of this an- 
swer and what effect it had 
to my reasoning unless 
one understood that up un- 
til Monday I believed I was 
much more than I turned 
out to be, not a pretty pic- 
ture for one to witness un- 

In conclusion I must state 
briefly, that I enjoyed the 
mushroom on one hand, but 
on the other hand, it 
frightened me, I say fright- 
ened, because I saw my- 
self for what I really was, 
but even tho this picture 
was seen for what it really 
was, I look to the future 
with enthusiasm, and to 
pursue psilocybin to its end. 

What is it like to be under 
psilocybin, being able to 
see colors in all its bril- 
liance and absolute splen- 
dor, it is by all means an 
atmosphere I would want 
to be in all the time able 
to understand myself, mu- 
sic, and what it means, the 
feeling one gets from listen- 
ing to such superb music 
as classics. 

Actions and thinking that I 
have done before are being 
changed to a more mag- 
nificent and truer way; 
thoughts have come to me 
under psilocybin such as 
past manners in treating 
people with a much better 
attitude and respect. 

196 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

This has taken me years to 
do and so after all these 
years I have found a way, 
thru the help of psilocybin. 
It has helped me in spelling 
and reading. I remember 
when I couldn't hold ten 
words in my head, but now 
I have words like antidises- 
tablishmentarianism long 
yes, but a word with any 
accomplishment, and there 
are others I am seeking to 
accomplish in accordance 
to psilocybin. 

A great deal of the pictures 
I seen were transparent, 
clear enough to see and un- 
derstand and to speak 
about after my session. It 
was nice to experience. 

There was nothing vicious 
about my two experiences, 
nor was it extravagent, but 
it was extraordinary and 
therefore I must praise and 
glorify this experience and 
all its wonder. It explored 
my mind and opened up a 
gate that has been closed 
for a long time, and with 
this acknowledgment I can 
keep it open and let this 
memory mellifluous itself 
through me because there 
is no need to be menda- 
cious, dishonest. It is time 
to mend that which is 

Psilocybin has showed me 
how wrong I have been in 
my disinclination, I now 
care to emulate, strive for 
the better things in life. 

Jim and Don grinned. I don't think that those 
guys will give us any static, Doc, we usually get 
what we want around here. Don't we, Don? 

Don nodded. There was muscle and hard prick 
behind the words. 

I liked them and had to respect them. And it was 
more politics. Dealing with the powers that be. I 
grinned and said, I'm pleased that you're inter- 
ested. It's a new and good thing we're doing and it 
works. It's also fun. I hope you'll join us. 

When I mentioned to our planning group that 
Jim and Don had volunteered there was an uneasy 
ripple, and murmurs about who exactly is in 
charge, and I thought the project was going to be 

By democratic we mean that we should run it, 

We had already run into some problems of 
power and authority in turning our decisions over 
to the convicts. The intoxicating taste of command. 
Two of the inmates had thrown themselves into the 
doctor-psychologist role with great energy and had 
developed pompous professional facades in dealing 
with their "clients." They tended to be fussy and 
schoolmasterly punitive. The other cons didn't like 

And everyone was uneasy about Jim and Don 
coming into the project. They were big men in the 
prison. They were boss cons. They'll take over. 

Hey, wait a minute. If they come into the project 
they'll have to take the mushrooms. 

There was a thoughtful silence and then every- 
one began to laugh. 

And if they take the drug they'll flip out of their 
minds and beyond the game of being boss convicts. 
Right? And they'll be stripped naked like everyone 
else. And they'll come back changed like the rest of 

If the mushrooms really work, if they produce 
insight and love, then they'll work for Jim and Don. 
Yeah, and for the guards too. Let's invite the screws 
to turn-on. 

So it was agreed that Don and Jim could join the 
group. They were tested and listened to the orien- 
tation talks and held out their tough-guy hands one 
sunny morning to receive the sacrament. 

198 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

I don't know of any other 
way for a person to ease 
tension, but maybe some 
could try a hobby or listen 
to music, maybe classical 
or spiritual. I am sure that 
somewhere along these 
lines you will find peace of 

On my second session, 
while I was under psilocy- 
bin and laying in bed with 
the covers over my head, a 
picture came into view as 
clear as I have ever seen 
before, and this was of 
Christ in the manger with 
these people standing and 
kneeling by his side. This 
picture stayed with me for 
a few moments, and then 
thousands of Christmas 
lights came into view dif- 
ferent shapes and forms 
and designs of colors that 
was of tremendous bril- 
liance and elegance. 

I was wondering at one 
point if I was living, or was 
this heaven that I had 
heard so much about. Be- 
ing able to experience 
these things have made me 
do a great deal of think- 
ing in rechanneling my life. 
One must come a long 
way before he can find him- 
self and I really hope I 

I also have now a great 
conception of classic music 
whereas one time I would 
never think of listening to 
such music. 

This trip was being guided by Gunther Weil and 
two inmates from the original group. 

After an hour Jimmy Berrigan started to show 
signs of distress. Jimmy was one of the hardest men 
in Massachusetts. He belonged to a famous Boston 
waterfront gang a rugged, violent tribe. Jimmy 
was a professional outlaw. Proud. Touchy. Cocky. 
A man whose culture and whose long life was 
totally dedicated to strength, bicep control. 

And now, as it comes to all men, the ultimate 
humiliation was coming to tough Jimmy in a sunlit 
room in the hospital ward in Concord prison. 

Jimmy suddenly discovered he had fallen into a 
trap. He had bulled his way into the project to 
enhance his power in the prison. The mushrooms 
were good, and anything good in the prison be- 
longed, by tribal custom, to Berrigan. And now he 
lay on a cot, rendered weak, his mind spinning 
away, his control slipping, overwhelmed by a thou- 
sand shadowy cellular faces mocking his illusions of 

This wasn't what he expected. This was a differ- 
ent high from booze and bennies and happy pills. 
He had fallen into a diabolic con game perpetrated 
by Harvard psychologists. After forty-five years of 
defiance and arrogance Jimmy was fallen. He raged 
in despair. He should have known better than to 
trust his natural enemies, these smooth-faced, glib 
middle-class professionals. What a sucker he was to 
fall for their line, to forget that power was every- 
thing. To let them slip him these immobilizing 

Well, he'd go down fighting. He tried to sit up, 
but his body was a tangle of pulsating wires and 
warm liquids. It was a nice feeling but he felt 
strange and weak. He looked around 'the room 
which was alive with belted radiance. Where were 
his tormentors? Ah, there was Gunther, young pip- 
squeak kid who couldn't hold his own for five 
seconds in a barroom brawl now smiling at him 
in malevolent triumph. 

He motioned for Gunther to come over and then 
fell back on the pillow. 

How are you Jimmy? 

I'm terrible, I'm dying. Well you got me, you 
clever bastard, but I'm not finished. You may have 

Spring 1961 00 199 

me but my brothers and my gang will get you for 
this. You'll be in a cement-bag in Boston Harbor in 
one week. 

Gunther's face looked blank. Get me for what? 

For trapping me this way, you smug Harvard 

Gunther felt a flicker of fear. He was turned-on 
too. Visions of gangland slayings. Cruel, implacable 
hoodlum revenge. How did he, a well-brought-up 
middle-class Jewish boy with good school grades 
get himself involved in this scene of wickedness 
and violence. Because of the mushrooms. The ec- 
stasy had led him on. He had been warned of this. 
The grim Judeo-Christian retribution. You pay for 
your bliss. Now he was paying for his mushroom 
kicks. He looked down at the face of his murderer, 
the rugged, waterfront grimacing features of this 
hood, this devil Berrigan whose dread retribution 
was to fall on him. Thoughts of escape flashed 
through his mind. He glanced at the barred win- 
dows. He was trapped in the prison, surrounded by 
thugs who would spring to the command of the 
master criminal. 

Tears came to his eyes. What a tragedy, to be cut 
down in his promising youth. He cursed the day he 
had even listened to the mushroom song and all the 
glib psychedelic teachings which sounded so good 
but which just lured you into the void of hell. 

The two men stood transfixed in horror and hate. 
Slim Harvard and grizzled outlaw. Caught together 
in some cold hopeless whirlpool of cosmic energy. 
Frightened and frightening each other. Blaming 
each other. Man hopelessly isolated from man. The 
other men in the room watched silently. 

Jimmy snarled again. My brother will kill you for 

How can they kill me, Jimmy, I'm dying right 

Dying. Death. Bebirth. Some long-forgotten wire 
of memory flickered. Death-rebirth. Trust the pro- 
cess. Gunther closed his eyes and the words came 
to him. The prayer. He struggled to move his throat 
and tongue, and then the words came out quaver- 
ing, shaky, a strange little voice, but the message 
was there. Jimmy Berrigan looked up in disbelief. 
His eyes widened. Then he understood. From 

Psilocybin has a way of 
opening up the mind and 
letting you see different 
pictures and gradually you 
will grasp these significants, 
and use them as they 
should be used. 


Prisoner Trip Report #2: 

I feel as an antiquarian 
does while searching for 
ancient relics anticipation 
before the discovery once 
discovered the journey to 
make known what is un- 
known. I find there isn't 
two paths any longer, but 
numerous trails to follow. 

None are marked in any 
tangible manner or form 
the senses are to be my 

I must reject the colorless, 
barren, unpopulated roads 
to travel into the world 
of beauty, the sun, the 
flowers, fresh-fragrant air 
all the benefits nature has 
devised for the use of man. 

I can do no less since the 
operation was successful 
(restoring my eyesight). I 
have traveled long in the 
world of darkness, shackled 
to the segregated misfits. 

200 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

The overwhelming desire to 
tear the cloth from my flesh, 
releasing the suffocating 
sinews to the magical beat 
of primitive drums. 

(The sacred dance 
cated to the beyond.) 


I am looking forward to my 
next session, as a child 
waits for someone to turn 
the lights on in the heavens 

People I hated for no sound 
reason, I have come to love. 
The lies I've told force me 
to tell the truth and I do 
not find that it hurts as 
much as a lie does. 

I'm satisfied with myself. 
I know that this is a new 
me. I'll always be looking 
to see if there is a better 
way to do things and how. 

Believe me, I consider my 
being here the most im- 
portant factor in my life be- 
cause this is where I have 
come to know the meaning 
of freedom and the joys 
that come with it. Yes, the 
road has been a hard one 
and many tears involved. 
The going is easy now be- 
cause I have found the way 
to the end. 

somewhere in his childhood, his Irish genes, his 
rugged Celtic past, the same message sparked. 

Jimmy began to laugh. Amazing. Unbelievable. 
God did exist. The old teachings were true. Not in 
the stilted, phony effeminate accents of the Boston 
priesthood whose piety he despised, but in the 
voice which sighed and breathed in his cells. 

He reached up and grabbed Gunther's hand, and 
their eyes met in a smile. And the session reel 
spun on. 

The initiation of Jimmy and Don increased the 
feeling of centeredness at the prison. Coming to 
Concord was like returning on pilgrimage to a holy 
place. A conspiracy was emerging. We started 
plotting a mass prison break. 

It is the nature of fire to flame up to heaven. This 
gives the idea of fellowship. Here, clarity is within 
and strength without the character of a peaceful 
union of men, which, in order to hold together, 
needs one yielding nature among many firm 
persons. ( I Ching XIII ) 

The name of the game was keep-out. We agreed 
that cops-and-robbers was ridiculous; the prisoner- 
guard game absurd. The perpetuation of these 
social dances depended on someone willing to play 
the part of the criminal. The entire top-heavy ad- 
ministrative structure, policemen, detectives, in- 
formers, lawyers, district attorneys, judges, pro- 
bation and parole officers, guards, wardens, prison 
psychiatrists all were dependent on the hero-star- 
bad-guy to make their good-guy parts have mean- 
ing. The criminals were the fall guys, the victims 
who kept the whole game going. 

The solution was obvious. The prisoners had to 
turn-on, see the game the way it was, and then 
drop-out. Just stop playing the bad-boy game. See 
it, laugh at it, and drop-out. 

So we made a contract. . . . Everyone in the 
group would do everything he could to help every 
member get out and stay out of prison. Not just 
sessions and discussions in the prison, but practical 
help in getting out, in finding a job, and dealing 
with life on the outside. 

Spring 1961 00 201 

We were proposing a family, clan- type group. 
This was very different from professional bureau- 
cratic rehabilitation. The motto of the rehabilitation 
worker is detachment. Don't get emotionally in- 
volved with the client. You will be seduced or 
conned. A mass-assembly-line rehabilitation se- 
quence, in which the psychologist performs his tests 
and turns the patient over to the psychiatrist, who 
treats the patient and sends him cured to the parole 
board, which decides on the basis of its own criteria 
whether to allow parole. The parolee is then inves- 
tigated and supervised by parole officers. Complete 
depersonalization all the way down the line. 

The prisoner is treated this way because he 
comes from a family which either won't or can't 
help him. His clan has been fragmented. He is an 
isolated loner, an anonymous cog in the social 

Our strategy was exactly opposite to the de- 
tached professional approach. The aim was to build 
a network of friends who would help each other. To 
construct a group that could perform some of the 
functions of the tribe. If a middle-class person gets 
in trouble he is typically rescued by middle-class 
know-how which bails him out, gets him a lawyer, 
talks middle-class jargon to the officials, gets him a 
job, provides him with a middle-class home to 
return to. 

Our plan was to use the resources of our group 
( including middle-class know-how ) to weave a web 
of protection for the convicts. 

I've been thru a complete 
change of life, an experi- 
ence that the average 20- 
year-old does not go thru 
but when they do go thru 
this change, the better 
things are ahead. 

I know myself in such a way 
that I can account for my 
thoughts and what they 
mean and what use they 
will be put to. 

Prison can lead a man 
down to nothing in a very 
short time. There were 
times when I felt myself 
slipping and filling my mind 
full of ideas that were no 
good. The ideas are still 
there but only as a guide to 
show me that I cannot af- 
ford to make a life of crimi- 
nal doings. 

. . . Said Gandalf . . . Well, let folly be our cloak, 
a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is 
very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety. . . . 
But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire 
for power; and so he judges all hearts. 

. . . Said Elrond . . . the road must be trod but it 
will be very hard . . . this quest may be attempted 
by the weak with as much hope as the strong. 
Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the 
wheels of the world: small hands do this because 
they must, while the eyes of the great are else- 
where. ( The Lord of the Rings ) 

Since the first mushroom 
test, my thoughts have al- 
ways been smooth and 
more wholesome than ever 

Nothing seems to drive me 
to stubbornness as before. 

202 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

I have come a long way 
into manhood and what I 
see, I like. What can be bet- 
ter than knowing where you 
are going and how you are 
going to get there. 

It's pleasant to know that 
your mind is free and not 
being guilty of unworthi- 

I want to be at peace with 
the world and have it at 
peace with me. 

Psilocybin is a wonderful 
discovery that does things 
that nothing else could do. 

Psilocybin brings out the 
truth of all around you, 
those concerning you and 
yourself. The answers will 
be yours. But will you use 

There are things I seen but 
I can't think of all of them 
because I never seen things 
like them before. I can't de- 
scribe them. 

The project moved rapidly into action. One of our 
members was coming up for a parole hearing. 
Johnny O'Connell, a genial Irishman. Johnny was 
caught by the standard dilemma of the lower-class 
convict. In order to be paroled he needed a job and 
home. His family was disintegrated, helpless, un- 
caring and could offer no home. And how could he 
get a job when he was uneducated, untrained, 
socially tarnished and, being in prison, unable to 
canvas prospective employers? Unless something 
was done he would meet the parole board and be 
turned back for another year of incarceration for 
the crime of not having a family, a tribal group to 
support him. 

So we went to work. First, to get him a job. 
Johnny's occupations in the past had been itinerant 
and casual. Dish washer. Handy man. Laborer. We 
phoned around Boston to find an employer who 
wanted to guarantee steady employment to a dish- 
washing convict who was guilty of a few bad 
checks and who drank now and then. No takers. 

For a week I spent most of my time meeting with 
restaurant owners and managers of construction 
companies. They were all encouraging but no one 
was willing to sign a paper guaranteeing Johnny a 

Then we thought of the home-base solution. Har- 
vard University was one of the largest businesses in 
Cambridge. Dozens of dining halls. We visited the 
Harvard employment office. There the officials were 
most sympathetic. Their interest led them to visit 
the prison. They listened attentively to the discus- 
sion about sessions and in return gave brief lectures 
about hard work, honesty, and responsibility. But 
for Johnny there was no help because the month 
was May and the Harvard dining halls closed for 
the summer. 

There was nothing to do but hire Johnny our- 
selves. Take him into the family business. A letter 
was written on the stationery of the Harvard 
Center for Personality Research, guaranteeing him 
a job on our project. We located a room in Cam- 
bridge, paid the rent, and Johnny had a home. 

With these documentary testaments to middle- 
class support, Johnny was released. Our first recon- 
verted man was on the streets. 

Spring 1961 00 203 

When he reported to work for the research proj- 
ect, his first assignment was to find himself a 
job and to keep diary notes of his job-hunting. 

At five o'clock each afternoon he would return to 
the center with his report. The only jobs he could 
get were in large downtown cafeterias where he 
would be allowed to join that anonymous army of 
gray-faced, dead-eyed, muscatel-drinking drifters 
who clear dishes off tables and mop floors today 
and are gone tomorrow to the drunk-tank. Such a 
job was guaranteed to push him into alcoholism. 

And every day at five-thirty Johnny would leave 
our office and go to his rented room, anonymous 
body on an impersonal bed in a strange chamber. 
The bars had TV and warmth and companionship. 

For two weeks he continued to search, made 
endurable by the support of the graduate students 
who hung out in the project office (at least there 
were some people who knew and cared ) . And then 
came a job as apprentice baker in a pizza parlor. It 
was a small shop where he would be known by 
everyone, where he would be a person. 

When Johnny came back from work the first 
evening, we all listened to his description of the 
place, what the girl cashier looked like, what the 
boss said to him, what his duties were. 

We passed the story on to the cons at the prison, 
and they listened carefully to all the details. 

There was still the bad business of Johnny living 
by himself and having no friends. The only thing 
that he could do after work was hang out in the 
bar. This was expensive. It was also dangerous- 
leading to hangovers and oversleeping. 

But Johnny didn't know any other way of spend- 
ing time or money. Free dollars and free hours 
automatically went to the saloon. The ideas of 
saving money, of purchasing anything except im- 
mediate essentials, of taking a vacation, of planning 
a career were as foreign to Johnny as to an Austra- 
lian bushman. Middle-class behavior was as far 
removed from his experience as life on Mars. 

So let's emigrate Johnny to Mars. Let's expose 
him to the day-to-day routine of middle-class Amer- 
ican life where he could learn by observation. 
Johnny moved into my house, into the third-floor 
attic that Bill Burroughs had just vacated. 

There is one time I remem- 
ber falling upward towards 
a mass of designs and it 
was all different colors or 
lights. It may sound nutty 
but I was there. 

I see other human beings 
in a different light. I seem 
to place everyone on an 
equal level. Regardless of 
race, creed, or color and 

I have never found it dif- 
ficult to talk with most 
people. However, after the 
mushroom experience I find 
it much easier. 

What can it do for others? 
I don't know. I will say this 
however, if the mushroom 
leaves the same impression 
on others as it has on me, 
then I suggest that every- 
one should be confronted 
with its virtues. 

204 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

The main thing I received 
from my first experience 
with mushrooms, was to 
look at myself and the en- 
tire human race from a dif- 
ferent angle. One of friend- 
liness and sincerity. Not 
what I can do everyone out 
of but what I can do for 
them and with them. I hope 
to find deeper and clearer 
meanings to these other 
things the next time I take 
the mushroom. . . . 

By nature, I am a very rest- 
less person. Always want- 
ing to move. Yes, I would 
even go as far as to say 
wanderlust. I couldn't sit 
still if someone was talking 
to me and most of the time 
it would bore me to listen 
to them talk. Since the 
mushroom, I don't feel that 
way. I seem to be more re- 
laxed. Less impatient. I 
want to listen and I don't 
want to be moving around. 
To get away from the things 
around me, now, seems to 
have vanished. 

Then I was scared. I thought 
someone had pulled a trick 
on me and the little man 
disappeared. I thought to 
myself, someone has 
dubbed the record with 
their voice, someone who 
I don't know, someone very 
clever in his trickery. Some- 
one wanted to hypnotize 
me, make me the living, 
speaking dead. Then I real- 
ized that I had seen this 
little green man before in 
my last trip. 

Johnny was a congenial householder. Jolly with 
kids. Easy with adults. He'd come home from work 
every night about midnight and have a beer and 
tell us about the pizza parlor. 

When the parole officer would drop around to 
make his surprise visits, the fibers of the house 
braced in empathetic protection. We were all mem- 
bers of a benign conspiracy to keep Johnny out of 
jail. For the first time in his life he had a home and 
a protective family. 

But the price was expensive. It took commitment, 
caring, concern, sharing. An emotional thing that 
can't be taught in the professional schools or ob- 
tained by voting large appropriations for criminal 

Back in prison the program went on. Psychedelic 
trips, two or three a week. Moments of confronta- 
tion. Moments of terror. Moments of joy. 

We were using the prison as a training center. 
The convicts were learning how to guide psyche- 
delic drug sessions. Harvard graduate students 
were coming to go through the program themselves. 
There was less distinction between psychologists 
and inmates. The new Harvards were assigned to 
veteran inmates for orientation and guidance. 

In session after session the inmates guided the 
Harvards, and the Harvards guided the convicts. 

The energy generated by the sessions continued 
to spill out beyond the prison walls. The psilocybin 
session room became a show place. Whenever visi- 
tors came to Cambridge inquiring about psyche- 
delic drugs, we took them out to the prison. The 
convicts sat around the table giving lectures on 
their mystic experiences to Gerald Heard and Alan 
Watts and Aldous Huxley and the ex-King of Sara- 
wak and coveys of visiting psychiatrists. 

The instinctive strategy was to do everything 
possible to enhance self-esteem, pride, and sense of 
accomplishment. Every power we could turn over 
to the convicts was a fiber in the body of growth we 
were constructing. 

As in any tribe there were sectors of friction, 
resentment, and disappointments. 

Johnny O'Connell lost his job when the pizza 
parlor went out of business. For a few days he 

206 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

The last Indian record came 
on and I closed my eyes, 
nothing, no color, nothing 
at all. I opened my eyes 
and felt very dizzy, so I 
closed my eyes again. All 
of a sudden a vision came 
unto me. Waver of sound, 
strings waving with sound, 
the music its very strings 
danced before me. The 
strings were gold, bright 
and brilliant. 

A voice came from the 
strings mystical and God- 
like in its tone, precise in 
its pronunciation, faraway 
and abstract in its meaning 
to me. Then I saw the little 
green man again, emerald 
green, robe about him, long 
legs and arms wrapped 
about himself, bald head 
shining with light, long thin 
ears, bright green eyes, sly 
wide grinning mouth. He 
had gold earrings in his 
ear, long, thin eyebrows 
and darker and a little 
beard growing from his 
chin. He spoke of the mu- 
sic, of the. very strings he 
sat upon. 

looked for a new job and then he took to sitting 
around the house watching television and drinking 
beer all day. We tried LSD. Heavier and heavier 
doses, with no results. Johnny always treated psy- 
chedelics with the bravado of the Olympic booze 
champion. I can outdrink any man in the house. 
His pride was to prove he could take more and 
more sacrament without passing out. 

So one afternoon we gave him five times the 
normal dose of LSD. Johnny flipped out of his 
mind and spun up to heaven. He raved about the 
beauty. He laughed with joy. He saw it all. 

How do you like heaven, Johnny? 

The answer was straight one-hundred-proof 
Irish. Tell God he's flubbed his job, Doc, there's no 
beer joint in heaven. 

So we bundled up in overcoats to take Johnny to 
a bar. We thought he might see through the booze 
scene. He walked into the bar with bravado, but it 
was too much for him. The bottles leered and 
mocked. Gotta get the hell out of here. 

Later that night he went back to the bar, ordered 
a beer, and turned to the man next to him. Mister, 
you'll never believe where I went today and what I 
saw. The man next to him didn't believe him. 
Neither did Johnny. The next day he was back to 
TV and beer. My irritation grew but Johnny 
couldn't be moved. I gave him a week to find a job 
and then I gave him fifty dollars and told him he 
was on his own. 

In two weeks he was back in prison not for 
crime, because Johnny wasn't a criminal, but for 
idleness and beering. 

By the fall of 1962 we had over thirty-five con- 
victs and fifteen Harvards in the group. And the 
men started being paroled out to the streets two 
and three a month. 

True fellowship among men must be based on a 
concern that is universal. It is not the private 
interests of the individual that create lasting fellow- 
ship among men, but rather the goals of humanity. 
That is why it is said that fellowship with men in 
the open succeeds. ( I Ching XIII ) 

Spring 1961 00 207 

We started project contact. The ex-cons and the 
Harvards were signed up in buddy-system teams to 
visit the ex-cons in their homes. We'd drive around 
the slum areas of Brockton, Fall River, Worcester, 
looking for our man. Then we'd go out and have a 
beer and find out how he was doing. There was a 
twenty-four-hour telephone to rush help in case of 

Maxwell found himself broke, his wife leaving 
him, and ready to knock over a store in rage and 
frustration. He'd phone our number and someone 
would drive over to meet him and spend an hour 
talking to him in an all-night cafeteria and lend him 
ten dollars. We bailed them out of jail, sobered 
them up, hid them from the parole officer, cooled 
out angry bosses. We did in short what the family 
does for its confused members. And we kept them 
out of jail. 

By this time operation Keep-Out had become a 
three-ring circus. There was the prison. There was 
the outside contact project and there was the less 
visible but equally important task of keeping the 
state administrators and officials happy. We kept a 
steady flow of memoranda and progress reports to 
the myriad departments which focus a jealous eye 
on the work of rehabilitating criminals. 

It was clear to us that if a week went by without 
contacting the bureaucrats, clewing them in, mak- 
ing them a part of the game, the whistle would be 
blown on our game. 

What we were doing was highly implausible 
from the administrative point of view. Week after 
week for two years we ran ecstasy sessions in a 
state prison turning-on with the prisoners, turning- 
on visiting psychiatrists. We had converted the 
hospital ward into a spiritual center complete with 
incense candles and music. 

We did this with the approval of the most skepti- 
cal, wary group of politician-pros on the American 
scene cops, jailers, and parole officials. Our key 
was direct human contact. I spent one-third of my 
time in face-to-face interaction with the state offi- 
cials. We invited them to the prison. We spent long 
hours over the lunch table, long hours driving to 

I could only see part of his 
face, a small pointed beard 
covered his cheeks and 
chin, his eyes glowed with 
a yellow light and his nose 
was long and thin. He 
seemed to be speaking but 
I could not hear him. 
Maybe he was praying. I 
spoke to him, "Hey man, 
what are you doing here. I 
know you. I saw you before 
on a mountain." No answer. 
I could not help talking 
jive talk, abstract words. 
Then the vision disap- 
peared and did not return. 

A criminal, at least myself 
and most all I've ever met, 
were either unloved chil- 
dren or lost individuals. 
Lost between right and 
wrong. What they wanted 
and the means to it. They 
knew their ends, power, 
wealth, money could not 
buy friends, loved ones, 
happiness, beauty, intelli- 
gence. I saw how foolish 
the game I played was. Just 
saw thru it, saw the ends I 
would find, instead of the 
ends I'd imagined. It sick- 
ened me. 

What was life, a life of this 
kind, just misery for myself 
and those who loved me. 

208 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

I again asked what I wanted 
from life and at once I got 
an answer love, peace, 
plenty, intelligence, not 
power, but friends. 

I reached the top. There 
was the same rock, the soft- 
ness of it is still here. On 
this rock was a man. A man 
both young and old. He had 
about his slim body a liquid 
robe of the bluest blue. He 
had his hands folded in his 

His fingers seemed to glow. 
They were long and bony 
and his hands seemed slim 
and fine. He was looking 
into the sky and did not 
hear me. He had long, 
womanlike hair, smooth 
and shiny and black, coal 

It has a way that moves me 
and relaxes me and through 
this relaxation I find myself 
in a much better atmos- 
phere, and also put myself 
into better environment, 
which in the future will 
prove how great psilocybin 
really is. 

the state house and to the probation headquarters. 
A lunch at the Harvard Faculty Club for the Com- 
missioner of Correction and his top lieutenants. 
Sharing of space-time. Caring for them, caring for 
their opinions and for their approval. 

We even ran sessions for parole officers and 
correction officials. Some of them had unhappy 
trips. People committed to external power are 
frightened by the release of ecstasy because the key 
is surrender of external power. One chief parole 
officer flipped-out paranoid at my house and ac- 
cused us of a Communist conspiracy and stormed 
around while Madison Presnell curled up on the 
couch watching, amused at the white folks franti- 
cally learning how to get high. He grinned at me. So 
you call it the love drug? 

But the next day the parole officer looked back at 
where he had been and his voice shook in reverence. 

The administrators let the project go on for the 
same reason that administrators do anything fear 
of criticism. Our work was succeeding and the 
prisoners knew it. Not just the inmates at Concord 
but all over the state. The politicians had to go 
along with it. 

Harvard was backing the project and Harvard 
couldn't be flouted. But there was an underlying 
skepticism. A basic distrust about any enthusiastic 
new approach to prisoner rehabilitation. Let them 
try their newfangled experiment, but the old hands 
knew that cons are cons and nothing can change 

In politics and administration the great sin is 
idealism, bright-eyed vigor and the highest virtue 
is cynicism. Faith, hope, and charity are dirty 
words. Nothing really changes except who has the 
power, who has the money. 

Everyone in the Massachusetts correctional sys- 
tem believed in his heart that our project would 
fail. That we would not lower the recidivism rate, 
that we could not convert hardened criminals. We 
just couldn't do it because we were running against 
the cultural momentum of American society which 
is more laws, more cops, more lawyers, more 
judges, more prison psychiatrists, more control, and 
we were saying: give power away. 

If we were right, then the sphincter clasp of 

Spring 1961 00 209 

society would have to be released. Deep religious 
commitments were involved in the use of our little 

I came into the warden's office one morning to 
report the most recent statistics. We had kept twice 
as many convicts out on the street as the expected 
number. We had halved the crime rate. He listened 
politely but he kept glancing toward the corner of 
the room. When I finished he got up and clapped 
me on the back and led me to the corner. Look at 
that, he said proudly. 

It was an architect's color drawing of a super 
prison. Look. Two football fields. This wing is for 
admitting and orientation. Two more cell blocks. 
Mess halls double in size. We'll have capacity for 
twice as many inmates and we can double the staff 
all the way down the line. 

His eyes were glowing like anyone showing you 
his dream plan. Success. His fantasy was coming 
true. A prison and an organizational table twice as 
big! The bureaucrats' goal. 

But warden, you're not going to need a larger 
prison. His face registered surprise. Why not? Be- 
cause we're cutting your recidivism rate in half, 
remember. You won't need to have all the cells you 
have now. You won't need to have half the guards 
you now have, if you let us turn-on your prison. 

The warden laughed. He liked me and felt pro- 
tective toward our hopes. Well, we're getting some 
of your men back. Kelly returned today in hand- 
cuffs. He was one of your men, wasn't he? 

Yes, Kelly had come back to the prison and so 
were some others returning. They had not com- 
mitted new crimes. They were returning cheerfully, 
peacefully, quietly, not making it on the outside. 

Kelly was a good example. He had been paroled 
and went back to the slum housing project where 
his wife and four children awaited him. He walked 
in on a financial crisis. The state support money for 
families of prisoners stopped the day he got out. He 
had no job. Five reproachful mouths to feed. His 
relations with his wife, never good, had been 
further strained by his imprisonment. His occupa- 
tional assets, never good, were weakened by his 
prison record. 

Under psilocybin I have 
taken on a different atti- 
tude toward people and 
friends. I was always dif- 
ferent in manner and just 
the opposite of what this 
drug brought out. 

Impulse has been the main 
factor in my doing things 
and through these impulses 
I have been incarcerated, 
but I am looking for a way 
to turn away from impulse. 

As I was laying in the bed 
with the blanket over my 
head, I kept getting these 
wonderful feelings, all 
through my body. I can't 
explain how they felt, but 
they felt so good that I was 
hoping that they would last 
all day, but they didn't. 

For a little while after that, 
I went through a great deal 
of suffering. It seems that 
I was strapped down to a 
table or something, and I 
was cut open from my chest 
to my stomach, and it 
seems that I could taste 
blood in my mouth. 

210 00 The Prisoners Will Become Priests 

As I was laying there bleed- 
ing, there were some peo- 
ple standing over me, saying 
too bad, but they weren't 
trying to help me. 

It was then that I seemed 
to be fighting something, 
when Dr. Presnell came 
over to me and took the 
blankets off my head. I had 
felt then that he had just 
saved my life. 

I got up to go to the bath- 
room, and I got a little 
dizzy. Everything that I saw, 
and the color of them 
seemed to be more intense. 
After I came out of the 
bathroom, I went over to 
one of the windows and 
looked out. I was feeling 
very happy. 

Dr. Leary came over to me 
and asked me how I felt. I 
told him I felt free. As soon 
as I said that, the happi- 
ness left me. I started to 
think what I was free from. 
I looked around the room, 
and for the first time, I no- 
ticed the bars on the win- 

Kelly was plunged, ill-prepared, into a tense, 
frustrating, almost hopeless situation. The pride and 
enthusiasm and insight of his psychedelic sessions 
were eroding fast. Our outside contact team met 
with him and tried to get him a job. Kelly was hard 
to sell to an employer. 

Now, if you put yourself into Kelly's head, you 
get this perspective. The outside society of Boston 
is cold, demanding, degrading, inhospitable, heavy 
with responsibility, empty of reward. Kelly looks 
back at the prison, free food and lodging and a job. 
There, he is a wanted man. He has a place. A role. 
But more than that, in the prison is the warmth of 
the group, the pride of belonging to the mushroom- 
elite, the rare unexpected ecstasy and adventure of 
the psychedelic drug trip, the companionship. The 
session room was home. Like a hummingbird, Kelly 
starting circling back to Concord. It was so easy. 
Just be drinking beer when the parole officer comes 
to inspect, and sound unenthusiastic about getting 
a job. 

Sorry, Kelly, but we have to pull your parole. 
You're going back. Kelly was going home, back to 
his cellmates. 

The problem was that the close tribal fabric of 
the prison group was pulled apart in the city. 
Everything in the Boston culture was geared to 
push Kelly back to crime. 

We needed a tribal center, a halfway house. A 
place in Boston where the ex-cons could reinstate 
the closeness of the prison group. The tribal tie has 
to be strong to protect its people in the brutal 
anonymity of the city. 

We started looking around for a house to rent. 
We ran into the usual problems. Landlords turned 
off when they learned that we were planning a 
center for ex-convicts. We didn't have the money or 
the energy to set up a house. It was obvious that we 
would have to live in the house ourselves with the 
ex-cons. Sit around the homefire with them, become 
inmates with them, and we weren't ready to make 
that big step of love and commitment. 

We sat in our offices at Harvard and made great 
plans and sent men out to look for real estate. And 
then at five o'clock we returned to our comfortable 

Spring 1961 00 211 

homes in the Boston suburbs and the ex-cons went 
back to the slums. 

Sixth in the second place means: Fellowship with 
men in the clan. Humiliation. There is danger here 
of formation of a separate faction on the basis of 
personal and egoistic interests. Such factions, tohich 
are exclusive and, instead of welcoming all men, 
must condemn one group in order to unite the 
others, originate from low motives and therefore 
lead in the course of time to humiliation. ( I Ching ) 

In the sessions we were all gods, all men at one. 
We were all two-billion-year-old seed centers puls- 
ing together. Then as time slowly froze we were 
reborn in the old costumes and picked up the tired 

We weren't yet ready to act on our revelation. 
The spark we had lit within each one of us was 
there and we guarded it, but the sun-flame had not 
yet burst forth. 

The walls that were keeping 
me from freedom. I said to 
myself, is this all that I have 
to look forward to for the 
rest of my life? I started to 
walk up and down the floor; 
I looked out of the window, 
and the walls seemed to be 
closing in on me. They kept 
getting closer and closer. 
I got scared. I looked 
around the room for some 
place to hide. I didn't hide. 
I decided to face it. I looked 
at the walls and said, "You 
are not going to get the 
best of me," and the walls 
moved back to their regular 



fellowship with men in the open. 

It furthers one to cross the great water. 
The perseverance of the superior 
man furthers. 

(I Ching) 


When the Celestial Messenger Comes gjjj 

Wearing a Fedora, E 

Can You Suspend Your Games? w 






Summer 1961 5 


Guide: bill burroughs c/j 

Oracle: XVIII 

Work on What Has Been Spoiled (Decay) q 


Keeping Still, Mountain C 




The Gentle, Wind 

T/ie wind blows low on the mountain: 
The image of decay. 

Thus the superior man stirs up the people 
And strengthens their spirit. 


TRIP 11 


May 6, 1961 

Cargo U.S. Consulate 



Dear Dr. Leary: 

I would like to sound a word 
of urgent warning with re- 
gard to the hallucinogen 
drugs with special reference 
to N-Dimethyltryptamine. 

I had obtained a supply of 
this drug synthesized by a 
chemist friend in London. 

My first impression was 
that it closely resembled 
psilocybin in its effects. 

I had taken it perhaps ten 
times (this drug must be 
injected and the dose is 
about one grain but I had 
been assured that there 
was a wide margin of 
safety) with results some- 
times unpleasant but well 
under control and always 
interesting when the horri- 
ble experience occurred 
which I have recorded and 
submitted for publication in 

You've got to write a big, enthusiastic letter to 
Burroughs and get him interested in taking the 
mushrooms. He knows more about drugs than any- 
one alive. What a report he'll write you! This was 
Allen Ginsberg talking in the winter of 1960-61, but 
it could have been any of a dozen other advisors. 
Burroughs is the Man. He knows the drug scene 
from head to heel. 

Allen Ginsberg left a copy of Junky, a hard- 
bitten, powerful account of the 1950 drug scene in 
New York. Written by Burroughs under the pseu- 
donym William Lee, the book is so real it stinks of 
subways-late-at-night, and the stale must of Eighth 
Avenue hotels, the sickening odor of benzedrine, and 
the dry sweat of tenement sexuality. The last lines 
of Junky announced the author's intention to pur- 
sue the hallucinogenic grail to South America. 
"Kick is momentary freedom from the claims of the 
aging, cautious, frightened flesh. Yage may be the 
final fix." 

Yage is a vine, Ayahuasca or Banisteriopsis 
Caape, found in the Amazon regions of Peru and 
Colombia which Ginsberg described as a telepathic- 
hallucinogenic-mind-expanding drug used by Ama- 
zon Indian doctors for finding lost objects, mostly 
bodies and souls. 

In 1953 Burroughs had made the trip to Bogota, 
Pasto, Macon, and then to Peru on the trail of 
visions. Now, seven years later, he was in Paris 
experimenting with hallucinations produced by 
flicker machines. 

What has been spoiled through mans fault can be 
made good again through mans work. It is not 
immutable fate, as in the time of STANDSTILL, 
that has caused the state of corruption, but rather 
the abuse of human freedom. ( I Ching XVIII ) 

Summer 1961 00 215 

After a while a letter arrived from Paris. 

Dear Timothy Leary: 

Thanks for your letter. I agree all the way. My 
work and understanding benefits from Hallucino- 
gens measureably. Wider use of these drugs 
would lead to better work conditions on all levels. 
Might be interesting to gather anthology of mush- 
room writing. I will be glad to send along my 
results. Enclosed minutes to go which may interest 
you along lines you indicate in letter. I have made 
cut-up highs without chemical assistants. Brion 
Gysin who first applied the cut-up method to writ- 
ing is here at the above address and would also be 
most interested to take the mushrooms. So I will 
look forward to hearing from you. You have my full 
agreement and support. 

William Burroughs 
P.S. Do you know Doctor Shultes of the Harvard 
Botanical Dept? I met him in South America. He 
has taken Bannisteriopsis and is most interested in 
experiments with the hallucinogens. 

In reply I sent a supply of psilocybin pills to the 
world's most experienced experimenter on drugs 
and awaited a report. His report was surprising. 
Burroughs had a bad trip on DMT and was sound- 
ing the cry of urgent warning. 

We studied the letter with considerable interest 
and got a wide variety of interpretations. We had 
learned enough to know that set-and-setting deter- 
mined the reaction, not the drug. 

Bill Burroughs alias Doctor Benway had inadver- 
tently taken an overdose of DMT and was flung 
into a space-fiction paranoia. 

Shortly after receiving the warning, I wrote ask- 
ing Burroughs if he would participate in a sympo- 
sium of psychedelic drugs which we had arranged 
for the September 1961 meetings of the American 
Psychological Association. I was impressed with 
Burroughs' experimental bent, the rigor and 
sternness of his declaration about precise research. 
We were intrigued by the idea of the great novelist 

I am sending along to you 
pertinent sections of this 
manuscript and I think you 
will readily see the danger 

I do not know if you are fa- 
miliar with apomorphine 
which is the only drug that 
acts as a metabolic regu- 

I think if I had not had this 
drug to hand, the result 
could have been lethal and 
this was not more than a 
grain and a half of N-Di- 

While I have described the 
experience in allegorical 
terms it was completely and 
horribly real and involved 
unendurable pain. 

A metabolic accident? 


But I have wide experience 
with drugs and excellent 
constitution and I am not 
subject to allergic reac- 

So I can only urge you to 
proceed with caution and 
to familiarize yourself with 

216 00 The Celestial Messenger 

Dr. John Dent of London 
has written a book on the 
apomorphine treatment for 
alcoholics and drug addicts 
(it is the only treatment 
that works but the U.S. 
Health Dept. will not use it). 

His book is called Anxiety 
and Its Treatment. 

i can ask him to send you 
a copy if you are interested. 

Let me hear from you. 

William Burroughs 

From Minutes to Go by Wil- 
liam Burroughs: 

The hallucinogen drug bot- 
tle and smoke pictures of 
strange places and states 
of being some familiar 
some alien as the separa- 
tion word beautiful and ugly 
spirits blossom in the brain 
like Chinese flowers in 
some lethal blossoms bottle 
genie of appalling condi- 
tions hatch cosmographies 
and legends spill through 
mind screen movies over- 
lapping myths of the race. 

The Night Before Thinking 
was recorded from a young 
Arab painter Achmed Ja- 
coubi who cannot read or 

(Recorded 1958 past time.) 

running precise-controlled research sessions. We 
offered to pay travel expenses for the trip to New 
York and asked Burroughs if he wanted to spend 
some time in Cambridge after the symposium. The 
answer came back, Sure. 

In July of that summer I went to Tangier to see 
Allen Ginsberg and to plan the conference with 
Burroughs. After the plane from Madrid pulled up 
to the Tangier air terminal, we were held up for 
fifteen minutes while the family of the King passed 
to another waiting airplane, emblazoned with 
Arabic script and regal emblems. More than a 
dozen women in veils picked their way daintily 
across the runway guarded by police and soldiers. 

Over at the terminal behind the rail, a man with 
long blond hair waved and shouted. It was Peter 
Orlovsky, leaving in half an hour for Gibraltar, then 
to Athens and the far, far East. He was sick of 
Tangier and didn't like what was going on there. 
He had quarreled with Burroughs, and was off to 
find wise men and wild drugs in the East. Ill take 
drugs you've never heard of! Morgenlandfahrt. 
Have a good trip, Peter. 

The taxi climbed the winding street to the little 
hotel where Allen Ginsberg had reserved rooms for 
me at two dollars a night. Allen was out. As I 
waited in the living room of the concierge, a thin, 
stooped man wearing glasses and a hat walked in. 
Two handsome British boys about nineteen years 
old were with him. 

Burroughs. Fine. I was just about to look you up. 
Leave a note for Allen. Let's have a drink. 

We sat in the outdoor garden of a restaurant and 
had several gins while we reviewed the Harvard 
and American plans. Mind. Brain. Drugs. Mind. 
Brain. Drugs. Burroughs was noncommittal about 
the mushrooms but he was pleased with our re- 
search and the plans to visit America. 

Then we went back to the hotel and had dinner 
with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Allen 
Ansen. After dinner we went to Burroughs' hotel. A 
lion's head stared from the door. We walked 
through into a garden and around to the very back 
to Burroughs' room. Dark cave. Big bed. Desk 
littered with papers. Hundreds of photos pasted 

218 00 The Celestial Messenger 

The Night Before Thinking 
came to Jacoubi under the 
influence of majoun, a form 
of hashish candy (note- 
worthy that there has been 
almost no work done on 
the chemistry of Cannabis 
whereas other hallucinogens 
are receiving constant at- 

When the story of Jacoubi 
came to the attention of this 
department, Doctor Benway 
was conducting experiments 
with some of the new hal- 
lucinogens and had inad- 
vertently taken a slight over- 
dose of N-Dimethyltrypta- 
mine Dim-N for short 
class of South American 
narcotic plants prestonia 
related to bufotina, which 
a species of poisonous 
toad spits out of its eyes. 

There is also reason to sus- 
pect a relation to a poison 
injected by certain fish from 
sharp fin spines. 

This fish poison causes a 
pain so intense that mor- 
phine brings no relief. 

Described as fire through 
the blood: photo falling 
word falling breakthrough 
in gray room towers open 
fire a blast of pain and 
hate shook the room as the 
shot of Dim-N hit and I was 
captured in enemy terri- 
tory power of Sammy the 

together and rephotographed. Cut up pictures. Boil 
out the essence of the pictures. And then shoot it. 

Three off-tuned radios blaring noise. Static is the 
essence of sound. Pot cutting-board. Allen's pic- 
tures of Marrakesh. We sat around the room, taking 
turns peering through the cardboard cylinder 
flicker machine. Burroughs wanted to take mush- 
rooms. Allen Ginsberg said, Well, everyone in Tan- 
gier has been waiting for you to arrive with the 
legendary mushrooms. Oh, intercontinental fame of 
Montezuma's medicine. Oh, fabled poets. Yes, they 
will write expatriate reports in blank verse, interna- 
tional. Allen Ansen from Venice will. William Bur- 
roughs from St. Louis will send a mysterious reply 
in tissue script. Allen Ginsberg, still scared, will 
chant an epistolary record. And Gregory Corso, 
owlwise, catsmouth, cheerful-Panda-bear-Charlie- 
Chaplin, will with pleasure tap out a few lines on 
the fabled typewriter. And the two young English- 
men cool with wild poet's hair will spin out state- 
ments. Good deal. All experienced hands at con- 

The session began in Burroughs' room, dim-lit, 
unmade bed, crowded, smoky. Burroughs lay back 
on the bed. The English boys watched him. The 
rest of us walked out to the garden and looked over 
the wall down on Tangier Harbor. Allen was de- 
pressed over Peter's departure. What did Peter say? 
How did he seem? He was struggling with Bur- 
roughs. Burroughs is anti-love. 

It so happened that the Boyal Fair was in town 
and the King's picture was draped over wires at 
every street intersection, and we could see the 
fairground ablaze with lights down near the beach 
and hear the sound of drums and pipes. 

It was the essence of night, warm, clear, hung on 
a ledge above North Africa's port, Moorish music 
drifting up to us watching. 

Allen Ansen and Gregory Corso were grinning 
and we all looked at each other and breathed in 
deeply. Whew! Pure, burnished ecstasy. 

Allen Ginsberg said that Burroughs seemed to 
want to be quiet, so why didn't we go over to his 
place and watch the night from there. We floated 
down the steps to the hotel and then up to the patio 

Summer 1961 00 219 

in front of Aliens room. The floor beneath was a 
city carpeted with lights. Lights strung from the 
rigging of ships in the harbor and the King's carni- 
val crazily rollicking along by the water's edge. 

We were all in the highest and most loving of 
moods. Allen Ansen couldn't believe it. He kept 
laughing and shaking his head. This can't be true. 
So beautiful. Heaven! But where is the devil's 
price? Anything this great must have a terrible flaw 
in it. It can't be this good. Is it addictive? Will we 
ever come down? I hope not. 

I was answering the questions that Allen and 
Gregory asked about the research and what had 
been happening in the States. Comic, Zen, mush- 
roomy talk. The four of us moored like happy 
balloons over Tangier. Joy. Love. Union. 

It was decided to pick up Burroughs and then go 
down to visit the fair. When we got to Burroughs' 
house, Allen walked around to the side and 
climbed part way up the wall and uttered his ritual 
greeting: Bill BUH-rows! Bill BUH-rows! 

We waited by the door and after a minute it 
slowly creaked open and there, almost collapsed 
against the wall, was Bill. His face was haggard 
and tense staring out like man caught in some 
power of Sammy the Butcher. He reached his left 
hand over his sweating face. Tried to slip out eyes 
of white-hot crab creatures. His thin fingers clawing 
at the right cheek, smoke escape cut off by white- 
hot metal lattice. Bill, how are you doing? They 
gave me large dose. I would like to sound a word of 
warning. I'm not feeling too well. I was struck by 
juxtaposition of purple fire mushroomed from the 
Pain Banks. Urgent Warning. I think I'll stay here 
in shriveling envelopes of larval flesh. I'm going to 
take some apomorphine. One of the nastiest cases 
ever processed by this department. 

You fellows go down to the fair and see film and 
brain waves tuning in on soulless insect people. 
Minutes to go. Whew! The hallucinogen drugs 
bottle and smoke pictures, my dears. Compassion. 
Compassion. Beautiful and ugly spirits blossom in 
the brain. Too bad. Minutes to go. What can we 
do? Compassion brings no relief? See you at the 
fair. The door closed around him glowing metal 

The ovens closed round me 
glowing metal lattice in pur- 
ple and blue and pink 
screening burning flash 
flesh under meat cleaver of 
Sammy the Butcher and 
pitiless insect eyes of white- 
hot crab creatures of the 

Called for Hassan i Sabbah 
and the screams of mil- 
lions who had called for 
Hassan i Sabbah in that 
place screamed back from 
creatures of the oven 
mouths dripping purple fire. 

No place to go trapped 
here cut off tried to slip 
out on the gray into mir- 
rors and spoons and door- 
ways of the fish city but my 
smoke escape was cut off 
by white-hot metal lattice in 
this soulless place of the 
insect people. 

Place of dry air shriveling 
envelopes of larval flesh 
insect eyes of the alien spe- 
cies the soulless insect 
people and the pain jinn 
dripping strips of purple fire 
mushroomed from the tower 
blasts reached for my apo- 
morphine tablets. 

Better take a handful, Bur- 
roughs, said the regulator. 

220 00 The Celestial Messenger 

Took twelve twentieth-grain 
tablets and flashed a glim- 
mer of gray beyond the 
ovens and made it out to 
the port tearoom on silver 
tea set yesterday past fields 
of interplanetary war and 
prisoners eaten alive by 
white-hot ants. 

Do not forget this Johnny- 
come-lately: War! 

War to extermination. 

Fading now. 

Gray ash writing of Has- 
san i Sabbah sifts through 
the ovens. 

Dust and smoke. 

Gray writing of Hassan i 
Sabbah switch tower orders 
reverse fire back creatures 
of the oven stored in pain 
beaks from the torture 
chambers of time. 

Souls torn into insect frag- 
ments by iron claws of the 
chessmaster doctor who 
synthesized Dim-N in an- 
nexia, iron claws? 

They gave large dose of 

lattice in purple and blue. He's the most resilient 
man in Hassan i Sabbah's mountain troop. He'll be 
all right. Good ole Bill. He takes no prisoners. 

We rolled like diamond hoops down to the 
waterfront. The electricians had outdone them- 
selves. Sidewalks emblazoned with Arabic script. 
What's that jeweled object, Van Vogted on the 
pavement? Gem box sparkled, lived. Once, for a 
long moment, chance turned it, that translucent 
fairy tower, a glowing turquoise blue. For one 
moment and then the combination shattered into 
a million bursting fragments of color: blue, red, 
green, yellow. No color, no possible shade of color, 
was missing from that silent, flaming explosion. 
What is it? Oh, an empty cigarette package in the 
gutter's lambent fire. Come along. Oh, see the 
conquering art of Moorish slave girls crowned with 
diadems. What a happy crowd! Dancing with 
lively, mocking sound, blue tattoos on forehead. 
Happy night walking to the fair. With Baudelaire. 
This world of stone and metal; brittle and bright. 
The family of the King picked their way across 
daintily. Flasks of perfume, fabrics lame and 
spangled, rich furnishings of brocade and gold, and 
we haven't even arrived at the gate to the fair yet. 
Tickets. Industrial exhibits of the Alien Species. 
Ansen and Corso smiling. Delights of Islam. 

Allen Ginsberg is still melancholy. Peter has left. 
Not sure he believes in love. Not sure he wants to 
be a great man. 

We slid through canvas slit in Arab tent, Gins- 
berg guide, to watch the dancing. Oh, the endless 
chanting. Behind us a girl nurses her baby. Boy 
dancers swayed and rocked drunkenly. Chanting. 
And become dust that is scattered on the desert 
wind, swinging circles clashing bronze cymbals. 
Allen Ansen, eyes closed, sways back and forth to 
the beat. The foremost shall be brought nigh unto 
God in the Gardens of Delight. The cymbals 
laughed and chanting told the secret. On inlaid 
couches they recline face to face. Four Moorish 
soldiers, tender young in the front row, eyes pop- 
ping in wonder, while immortal youths go around 
them with goblets and flagons and a chalice of 
wine. The dance endless. Exactly. Timeless. The 

222 00 The Celestial Messenger 

Like five times what you 
took and the prisoners dis- 
integrated into oven crea- 

They took recordings in 
sound film and brain waves 
can tune in on Dim-N and 
they are moving to extend 
the range of tune in other 
hallucinogens and blockage 
this planet under alien in- 
sect enemy. 

One of the nastiest cases 
ever processed by the de- 
partment. . . . 

Final blast from fading tow- 
ers I saw Nova spirit burn- 
ing metal eyes black metal 
skull translucent with fire 
head of Nova remembered 
that turnstile brought a pris- 
oner to explode this planet 
Uranian-bom of Nova 
conditions: Two powers of 
equal strength to be di- 
rected against each other. 

No riots like injustice di- 
rected between enemies. 

Minutes to go. 

The tortured jinn and pain 
spirits to set off the charge 
from a distant sky switch 
white-hot blast out in vapor 
trails smoke writing of Has- 
san i Sabbah. 

cadenced rise and fall of breathing rhythm. Up. 
Down. Up. Down. Around us veiled women, mys- 
terious, soft, inviting, and fruit according to their 
choice and flesh of fowls that they desire. Ginsberg 
was whispering that the color of the robe meant a 
different tribe. Rifs from the mountains. Fountains? 
Cant hear with talk of. Berbers? Proud? Loud? 
Joyce? The chanting river roar mounts. There too 
are Houris, with dark eyes like hidden pearls. En- 
tire families leaning forward to watch, robed, listen- 
ing, nor are they bemused. Whispers they're all 
high on pot or hashish. That's why the dance goes 
so long, endless and always flowing. Yeaaaaaaaah. 
But they hear the ayeing peace. Peace. Now the 
Ganowanian drummers leap on stage: whirling, 
pounding the deep, heavy drums. Each beat 
quivers, energy coils, we become each beat. Amid 
thornless lote-trees and clustered plantains and 
spreading shade and gushing water. The drum- 
mers, Negroid, fierce, laughing. High too? Moors 
use water in their architecture because to a desert 
people the splashing sound and rippling sight of 
fountains is the highest delight. The dance tempo 
quickened to a Niagara chaos of sound and high- 
raised couches. Consorts have we created and we 
have made them virgins. On low stairs leading up 
to the stage a Moorish maid beams out curious, 
flirting look from olive slits behind a gray veil, 
utterly loving and perfectly matched we have made 
them. I fell in love with veiled eyes. 

When the dancing stopped we filed outside 
and walked to an open cafe under the arcade of the 
fair building. Arab music from a radio, and squat- 
ting in the corner, a man playing a guitar. A circle 
of men sitting on cushions passing pipes with long 
stems and small clay bowls. Marijuana smoke. A 
man about fifty, wiry and cheerful as your plumber 
on a party, jumped up and began a belly dance. 
The men watched, grinned, and clapped their 
hands. Burroughs walked up with the English boys. 
He was feeling better but wasn't talking. We had 
tea in tall glasses clogged with mint leaves. Steam- 
ing. Sweet. Burroughs wanted to go to a bar. We 
walked along the waterfront, lazily. The bar was 
crowded with men and smoky with loud Spanish 

Summer 1961 00 223 

music. I said good night to Burroughs and walked 
up the hill with Allen and Gregory and stayed up 
the rest of the night talking on Allen's patio and 
heard the cocks crow and saw the sun rise and 
gleam on the eastern walls of the city by the 

During the following days in Morocco I shot reels 
of retinal film Tangerine. At Paul Bowles's apart- 
ment I heard his tapes of Arab music, recorded as 
he walked down old village dancing festival streets, 
and a tape of Burroughs reading his stuff at an 
English University powerful, eerie, Venusian 
prose. Minutes to go. No one has captured the 
horror of modern technology like Burroughs cold 
damp machinery, the television mind, cold, blue- 
steel sexuality, plastic bodies drained of the warm 
juices. I watched a session in which several young 
English boys took majoun (the powerful hashish 
jam). One of them got caught in bad visions. I 
could see why. He played the part of a miserable, 
bullied, self-despising English schoolboy homo- 
sexual. He had walked in on the session uninvited 
and had tagged along unwanted. Then suddenly he 
found himself "out of his mind" in a strange port 
city amid strangers who disliked him, and he 
trembled in fear. I watched to see how the drug- 
experts would handle the situation. For the most 
part he was ignored. He's a drag, man. Give him a 
sedative. There was little compassion in the honey- 
sweet majoun syrup. Only Allen Ginsberg was ten- 
der, sitting next to him and talking softly, curan- 
dero style. 

When I left Tangier for Copenhagen, I arranged 
to meet Bill Burroughs in London in three weeks. 
Dick Alpert and I phoned Bill and then took a 
cab to his hotel. He had a small, dark, first-floor 
room with a meter on the wall. Bill misses kif. 
Poring over photos of yage convulsions. I am a 
good photographer of impersonal symbols. The 
mushrooms of Tangier propelled me into arrows of 
unfriendly. Let's try some now to see if they work 
differently. We all took 4 mg., naught but a brush 
of the phoenix bird's soft wing. 

In the working-class tearoom. Bill's metal cyni- 
cism American publishers cheating authors. Pub- 

Break through in gray room 
word falling photo fall- 
ing towers open fire sac- 
rifice partisan of all na- 

Sacrifice iron claws you 
are under arrest iron 

Gray police of the regulator 
do their work and go down 
all your streets and by the 
river light on water flash 
spoons and tea pots 

Poison of dead sun in my 
brain slowly fading now 
Sammy the Butcher fill your 

Fan silver bullets from the 
old westerns whistling im- 
age of Sammy the Butcher 
explode a million flash 
bulbs smell of burning 

Cut on gray into The Gun- 
fighter blast Sammy the 
Butcher from the West the 
West Side push I told over 
the gray subway through 
silent turnstiles 

Click clack out to gray taxi 
down shadow streets of 
Tangier back from gang- 
ster films 

Use that typewriter 

224 00 The Celestial Messenger 

Chop chop swift Samurai 
sword machete silver flash 
Sammy's last picture now 
Sammy the Butcher ad- 
vances from his corner 

He is using his chopping 
techniques that earned him 
his moniker 

Sammy can't seem to reach 
the contender slipping 
dodging shifting into gray 
junk flesh stale overcoats 
and shaking spoons 

Cut into newsreel prize- 
fights and send all those 
fists crushing into Sammy's 
soft underside 

Mr. Bradly Mr. Martin 
through the gray turnstile 
click a million switch blades 
Uranian-born in the face of 
Nova conditions 

The champ is worried folks 
Molotov cocktails from 
the streets of Berlin and 

Cut chop with that type- 
writer stampeding herds 
from the West turn the 
animals loose on Sammy 

Cut TV bullfights Mexico 
DF chop that horn write 
up into Sammy's groin 
use all the strength of those 
neck muscles you got it? 

lisher Benny and his neuroses and his mistress and 
his lawyers and his analysts. Ah Beckett. Awe and 
reverence. Sent emissary to Beckett to arrange an 
interview. But Beckett sees no one. With Tangier 
mushrooms, feared lack of control. Stop all that 
vibrating. Regrets Soft Machine. Won't be under- 
stood. Cut-up is too far out. 

Walking the London streets. He doesn't like the 
loss of control. We were swallowed by two mush- 
room pills and sat in the green mouth of the park 
on white dental benches. Richard brooding about 
Greek sexual Utopias and watching the passersby. 
Burroughs talking brilliantly leather beaten face, 
turkey neck. Ah J. B. Rhine, you German river of 
experimentation. ESP is either accidental (little 
whirlpools of old vibrations caught in pockets, pre- 
served, and suddenly tuned-in to) or functional 
(sender needs the message delivered). ESP can 
never be experimental. Why do research? The stro- 
boscope. It frightens me. Burroughs needs equip- 
ment to experiment. Dr. Gray Walter can locate 
hallucinations. Let's say a peasant woman comes 
with a devil vision. Well, by precise manipulation 
of specific brain points, localized you understand, 
the doctor proceeds to remove the devil's horns, one 
by one, and then without horns the devil is just a 
man in her room. Well, then by precise manipula- 
tion of specific brain cells the devil's leer becomes a 
smile and then by further precise manipulations, 
the man gets to look familiar and, well, to make a 
long story short, he eventually lays her right in the 
bed in which she is hallucinating and she has an 
orgasm, not one but several. Whew! All in her 
imagination by simple manipulation, precise, based 
on specific localization of hallucinatory content. 
Imagination is real, after all. Are you involved like 
us in the game of helping the human race? Hell no. 
Hassan i Sabbah only wants his returned. 

Imagine a simple, middle-class tearoom. How it 
swirls in mushroom smoke. Line up for puddles of 
brown, milky tea sweet steamy. The essence of 
anything is the cut-up. Cut up words. Cut up 
pictures. Boil it down to the essence. Strip off all 
the irrelevant, redundant. Boil it down in a steamy 
teaspoon and then shoot it. Laughs. Jolly. Want to 
sell Coke? Coca-Cola, I mean? Get thousands of 

Summer 1961 00 225 

pictures of Coke being drunk in every kind of 
situation. Paste up all the pictures on a wall and 
take a picture of that then all the thousand photos 
are in one photo. The essence of Coke-photo. Madi- 
son Avenue. Seeit getrich. Window design advertis- 
ing. Grab monopoly money. Henry light sitting on a 
luce pile of pictures a mile high in that Time-Life 
building. They have pictures of every inch of the 

Virus and parasite. Like that Humpy. Don't let 
them in, the parasites. They always worm and then 
make you feel guilty. Be immune. Don't bargain 
with them. You can't negotiate with a parasite. The 
soft machine is too difficult. I am now writing a 
science-fiction book that a twelve-year-old can un- 
derstand. I write to create my own reality. Sound 
an urgent warning against parasites. Tapeworms 
are invisible. Viral invasion of the brain. Watch out 
don't let them enter. Politics of the virus. What do 
parasites want? To keep the status quo. Worm their 
way into the host. Psychedelic drugs are counter- 
agents. Destroy the virus. Destroy the status quo. 
Psychedelic drugs are specific cure for brain para- 
sites. Cerebral virus live in nervous systems. Eat 
and create waste products which prevent con- 
sciousness-expansion. A hangup is due to immobili- 
zation caused by waste products of neural para- 
sites. Politics of parasites. Do not kill off the host. 
Need him to eat off. Like con and the mark. Virus is 
like any rich politician. Vested interest in keeping 
brain immobilized keeping consciousness con- 

Symbiosis is the political slogan of parasite. 
When a parasite is cornered, when you've got him 
covered in your sights, he'll try to convince you that 
you need a symbiotic relationship. You need me 
eating off you! 

Or he'll try to convince you that you made him a 
parasite. It's not my fault I have to eat off you. You 
led me on. You invited me in. Like Humpy. I gave 
him a junk habit. Or with poor boys. You taught me 
to enjoy nice things. Oceans of tan, sweet, steaming 
tea wash through English surburban restaurant 
spilling brown on the counters. Sugary tan the air. 
Let's leave. 

Floating down the street, Burroughs creating cut- 

Loose pack of vicious dogs 
from The Savage Innocents 
strife in battle scenes and 
fighter flames cool and 
casual whistling killers drift 
in from 1920 streets 

They are not come just a 
looka you Sammy folks 
the Butcher has taken a 
terrible beating in this 

He looks dazed and keeps 
shaking his head from side 
to side there goes the 

Now throw in that pain jinn 
sixty feet tall dripping pur- 
ple fire King Kong 

Street gangs Uranian-born 
in the face of Nova con- 
ditions pinball machine the 
world shift tilt that oven 
pain in color splats tracer 
bullets bursting rockets 

Folks the Butcher is click- 
ing back and forth like a 
bear in a shooting gallery 

The contender has Sammy 
on the ropes now he's 
using Sammy's chopping 

226 00 The Celestial Messenger 

Blow after blow air-ham- 
mers the code write into 
Sammy's diaphragm dis- 
perse in broken mirrors 
clouds cyclones low pres- 
sure Sammy's image into 
your flash bulb sput. 

Witnesses from a distance 
observed in brilliant flash 
and a roaring blast as 
Sammy the Butcher was ar- 

Having written this ac- 
count of my experience 
with Dim-N (and I would 
like to sound a word of 
warning) I was of course 
struck by juxtapositions of 
areas between my account 
and The Night Before 
Thinking recorded by Ach- 
med Jacoubi five years ear- 

I took a page of my text 
first draft and folded it 
down the middle and passed 
down the middle of the 
page in Jacoubi's text 
where he relates the oven 
incident on page 7. 

NOTE 1: 

Hassan i Sabbah the old 
man of the mountain of the 
assassins lived in the year 
one thousand. 

From a remote mountain 
fortress called Alamout he 
could reach a knife to 

ups. Scissors through parasitology. Chops up in- 
terpersonal psychology, pastes in junk dialect. 
Beautiful moment of drifting together. Caution! No 
positive emotions now! Suspicious. Where go? 
Walk around Piccadilly. Head for Chelsea? Make a 
plan? Burroughs high, happy, jolly. Go to our hotel 
and have a drink and then dinner? Great. Bump 
along in side-door London hack. 

Now curare is an interesting drug. Muscle pa- 
ralysis. No possibility of action. Just lie there ab- 
sorbing all sensation. Medicine man crooning. Para- 
lyzed. I was smothering and can't say it. Can't talk. 
Each drug opens up an undiscovered unexplored 
area. Some inhabited by hostile tribes. Beware. 
The medicine man can hang you up. Direct you 
into unfriendly territory. Sound urgent warning. 
DMT. Beware. Like to take curare plus conscious- 
ness-expansion drug. No action. Many visions. Ex- 
perimental mind. 

Morocco culture built on hashish. Wonderful 
country. Whole damn place undulating in soft 
mellow haze of pot. Happy land. No wars. No 
economic rivalry. Relaxed land of lotus. Nirvana. 
Arab nationalists. Nova villains. Destroy their own 
culture. Want power. Want to modernize Moslem 
countries with industrial nightmare of West. Bor- 
row worst elements of West. Guns and machines. 
United States pressures them to make nontoxic 
hashish illegal. Force our toxic narcotic on them 
alcohol. Pot used to be legal in Tangier and liquor- 
drinking illegal. Now it's changed. Dictators want 
their people in alcoholic stupor. Arab nationalists 
sitting in Cairo hotels drinking Scotch and plotting 
westernization of their countries. Burroughs drink- 
ing, getting flushed. Feel sick. Take apomorphine. 
Nervous. Sudden good-night. 

Burroughs plane arrives. Logan Airport Boston. 
Customs inspection. Routine. Whew! Came in clean 
as a whistle. Take no chances. America! Billbad the 
Bailer has returned! In the Newton House he rests, 
restless. He has traveled. 

In Tangier he was always busy, hands moving, 
chopping the leaves, combing out the seeds, sifting, 
cleaning, shaking, twisting, tapping, lighting, fum- 
ing, chopping, combing. Now sitting on the green 

Summer 1961 00 227 

couch in the booklined library, there was a square 
round Sinbad the Sailor roc's egg in empty hands. 
Here's a box of dried Oaxaca mushrooms. Stern 
face, impassive, examines the samples which, with- 
out herbarium specimens, he identified as teonana- 
cate, Flesh of the Gods. Flush of the Dogs. If there 
be confusion in the botanical field, there is chaos in 
the chemical. Muttering, Hmm, wonder if you can 
smoke this stuff. Why not? The old Tangier game. 
A game is a sequence of movements characterized 
by a goal, roles, rule, ritual. Chop. Comb. Sift. 
Twist. Quick as a flash young Jack Leary sprang to 
his bike and pedaled to village for cigarette paper. 
Billbad bends over the table with sharp knife on 
cutting board, chopping, combing, sifting, licking, 
twisting, lighting, fuming. Ugh! Heavy, damp, 
gray, moldy smoke lined throat and hung noxious, 
nauseous over the room. Thank you said Stephen 
taking a cigarette. Haines held the flaming punk in 
the shell of his hand. Smoke a soggy log from a frog 
swamp. I do believe I am getting high. Mister 
Mushroom's got a cough mixture with a punch in it 
for you, my friend, in his back pocket. Toad's pus 
oozes into lung's cough. No more for me, pul- 
monary, but Billbad the Bailer says he's high. Later 
chemical consultation reveals psychedelic effect of 
alkaloid destroyed by combustion. 

Warm August nights in Newton. Burroughs 
works on the paper for the American Psychological 
Association. The approach will be scholarly. Points 
of Distinction. Unfortunately the word drug acti- 
vates scientific prose; a reflex between sedative and 
hallucinogenic words. That week brought a Sep- 
tember wave of heat to Manhattan. Symposium on 
consciousness-expanding drugs. Drugs, Set-and- 
Setting by Timothy Leary. Unusual Realization and 
Alterations in Consciousness, Frank Barron. Ecstat- 
ogenic Comments by Gerald Heard. 

Unusual interest realized that the room must be 
expanded, altered. Not big enough. APA conven- 
tion manager uncooperative. Hundreds of audience 
crammed into room, standing ten-deep in hallway, 
sitting around speaker's table, sprawling on floor. 
Burroughs lecturing from his manuscript, low voice 
dry, noncommittal. Talk louder Bill. Minutes to go. 

There were not more than 
several hundred trainees in 
any one Alamout shift. 

Hassan i Sabbah made no 
attempt to increase num- 
bers or extend political 

He took no prisoners. 

There were no torture cham- 
bers in Alamout. 

He was strictly a counter 

When a move was made 
against Alamout by the mul- 
tiple enemies of Hassan i 
Sabbah he reached out with 
his phantom knife, and a 
general, a prime minister, 
and a sultan died. 

Hassan i Sabbah master of 
the jinn. 

Assassin of ugly spirits. 

228 00 The Celestial Messenger 

NOTE 2: 

Apomorphine is made by 
boiling morphine with hy- 
drochloric acid. 

This alters chemical formu- 
lae and physiological ef- 

Apomorphine has no seda- 
tive, narcotic, or pain-killing 

It is a metabolic regulator 
that need not be continued 
when its work is done. 

I quote from Anxiety and 
Its Treatment by Dr. John 
Dent of London: Apomor- 
phine acts on the back 
brain stimulating the regu- 
lating centers in such a way 
as to normalize the metabo- 

After the psychological convention the research 
team returned to Cambridge. Burroughs took up 
resistance in my house, helpless as a beached fish. 
The Harvard project members were involved in 
teaching, rehabilitating convicts, experimenting 
foolishly but merrily with love engineering, talking 
and writing about behavior change, pursuing 
careers, academic, scientific, marital, messianic. 
And under his gray fedora Burroughs sat lonely in 
third-floor room surrounded by cut-up photos or 
leaned unsmiling on kitchen table drinking gin- 
tonics, beaming a monologue caustic, comic, Has- 
san i Sabbah, relentless, tender as a Venusian-green 
neon antennae light gun ray, increasingly bitter and 
paranoid and always brilliant, original, excruciat- 
ingly cynical, naked, personal, monumental, lovely. 

Burroughs with the Harvard project was Leo- 
nardo da Vinci wearing a fedora, pushed unsmiling 
into left field at Yankee Stadium. Willy Mays in a 
fedora lured onto the stage at Metropolitan Opera. 
He was Christ with a fedora at the Copacabana. 
The all-time All-Star in the wrong tribe. 

From the time he hit the country he was suspi- 
cious and cynical of psychedelic drugs and their 
use. He was instructed to turn up the volume if he 
experienced any pain. He never had a session and 
(although his APA lecture gallantly avoided men- 
tion of psilocybin) he never concealed his distaste 
for the drug we hoped he would research. 

It has been used in the 
treatment of alcoholics and 
drug addicts and normal- 
izes metabolism in such a 
way as to remove the need 
for any narcotic substance. 

Apomorphine cuts the mor- 
phine lines from the brain. 

Poison of dead sun slowly 
fading is smoke. 


Sam sat on the ground and put his head in his 
hands. I wish I had never come here, and I dont 
want to see no more magic, he said, and fell silent. 
( The Lord of the Rings ) 

He left silently without farewell, and then rumor 
drifted up like damp smoke from New York that he 
had published a no-thank-you letter denouncing 
the Harvard psychedelics. 


Billbad's accusation: Harvard's hallucinogenic 
drug monopolists cover travel arrangements but 

Summer 1961 00 229 

never pay the constituents they have betrayed and 
sold out. They offer love in slop buckets to cover 
retreat. They leave Hassan i Sabbah in a third-floor 
room subject to constant insults and humiliations. 
They steal, bottle, and dole out addictive love in 
eye-droppers of increased awareness of unpleasant 
or dangerous symptoms. 

the answer: Not guilty, beloved Billbad. There 
was no powerful board and syndicate to subsidize 
Dr. Benway's attack on the psilocybin love brigade. 
There was only Jack Leary and his assistants ready 
to spring to their borrowed-bicycle fun-errands. 

The superior man must first remove stagnation by 
stirring up public opinion, as the wind stirs every- 
thing, and must then strengthen and tranquilize the 
character of the people, as the mountain gives 
tranquillity and nourishment to all that grows in its 
vicinity. ( I Ching XVIII ) 

Open letter to my constitu- 
ents and co-workers if any 
remain for the end of it 

Don't listen to Hassan i 
Sabbah, they will tell you. 
He wants to take your body 
and all pleasures of the 
body away from you. 

Listen to us. We are serving 
the garden of delights im- 
mortality cosmic conscious- 
ness the best ever in drug 
kicks. And love love love in 
slop buckets. 

Billbad the Bailer finally escaped the Nova ovens 
of Harvard confident not in promise but in fulfill- 
ment. He never let his knife-edge style dull into the 
wrong game. Lonely in his third-floor room, he 
made the most impressive literary debut of the past 
century. Lured into left field, he scares Grade B 
psilocybin out of behavioral scientists counting 
their methodological hallucinations. 

After he covered his retreat from the colony they 
so disgracefully mis-man-aged, he released a word- 
ment of urgent warning against his Harvard hosts. 
Stay out of Timothy Leary's Garden of Delights. 

Listen to us, cried the Harvard scientists. We are 
creating the Garden of Delights on the Harvard 
payroll. The Best Ever in Ivy League Drug Kicks. 
love love love in slop buckets. How does that 
sound to his awe-inspiring artistry? Hassan the 
Hailer takes us on a lively, scary broadening jour- 
ney with the ticket that exploded. Leaves nothing 
for the reader who might wish love sex and dream. 
At the immediate risk of finding himself the most 
unpopular character in Cambridge, he creates' a 
new angle of vision. Orders total resistance. Beware 
of Timothy's ersatz immortality. Psilocybin should 
be banned by customs? Did we monopolize Immor- 

How does that sound to you 
boys? Better than Hassan i 
Sabbah and his cold windy 
bodiless rock? Right? 

At the immediate risk of 
finding myself the most un- 
popular character of all fic- 
tion and history is fiction 
I must say this: Bring to- 
gether state of news. 

Inquire onward from state to 

Who monopolized love sex 
and dream? Who monopo- 
lized life time and fortune. 
Who took from you what 
is yours? 

230 00 The Celestial Messenger 

Now they will give it all 
back? Did they ever give 
anything away for nothing? 
Did they ever give any more 
than they had to give? 

Did they not always take 
back what they gave when 
it was possible and it al- 
ways was? 

Listen: Their garden of de- 
lights is a terminal sewer 
I have been at some 
pains to map this area of 
terminal sewage in the so- 
called pornographic section 
of naked lunch and the soft 
machine their immortality 
cosmic consciousness and 
love is second-run grade B 

Their drugs are poison de- 
signed to beam in orgasm 
death and Nova ovens. 

Stay out of the garden of 

tality, Billbad? Did we monopolize Cosmic Con- 
sciousness? Did we force Hassan i Sabbah to wear 
a special garb, subject to constant insults? No. Our 
tea, too, spilled brown, steamy sweet on the kitchen 
table during September heatwave. That's who. 

Mr. William Lee Bailer is a very worldly-wise, 
later-modern, nothing-if-not-civilized superb writer. 
Who ever gave any more than they had to give to a 
frightened English schoolboy lonely in the third- 
floor bedroom? Talk louder, Bill, we whispered. 

Are we so complacent about the present state of 
our knowledge? Are you? Covering your retreat 
from Leary's office in Cambridge, were you heard to 
say: Their Immortality Cosmic Consciousness and 
love Is the cry of every as yet uninstitutionalized 
man everywhere? Is the love-pill second-run Grade 
B shit? Is psilocybin a nasty book? Don't you mean 
lucid? Whose drugs are poison designed to beam-in 
Orgasm death? And Nova Ovens? Unmistakable. 
Bill Burroughs, you right superb. For all your 
spiritual strength, you invoke no fuzzy alien words. 
What does your program of total austerity turn to 
for a grasp? Rub out the word forever? Only such 
extreme wordments can rub out the statemen and 
all their statements; illuminate the disgracefully 
managed colony. 

For the seven years since i960, I have lived in 
mis-man-aged psychedelic communes, tribal en- 
campments (although we didn't grasp the tribal 
significance for a long time). During this period 
several thousand people have hopefully visited, and 
over two hundred have like Bill Burroughs actually 
moved into, our houses. All but two dozen have 
moved on because the human chemistry didn't 
work. The mysterious alchemy of living together. 
Our insensitivity to Bill Burroughs points up impor- 
tant lessons about human society. 

We are tribal animals. Primates. We have lived 
together in small bands for a hundred thousand 
years. The unit of human survival spiritual, eco- 
nomic, political is the clan. The clan is a small 
collection of families. 

Each of us has built into his genetic code, into 
the very cellular essence of our being, tribal com- 

Summer 1961 00 231 

mitments. Tribal style. Tribal mores. Tribal taboos. 
Tribal sexual rituals. 

Man is designed by over two billion years of 
divine blueprinting to live in small groups. We 
were not built to live in the insect anonymity of 
large cities. The urban empires always collapse. 

In the cities, tribal needs and tribal styles are 
concealed by the plastic uniformity. It is only when 
we live together that the cellular plan emerges. 
There are countless mythic archetypes which deter- 
mine harmonious or disruptive living together. Of 
these, geographic (racial) and sexual factors are 
the most important in the formation and perpetua- 
tion of the tribal commune. Over the millennia 
these two factors geography and sexual style- 
have operated through natural selection. Today, in 
the period of collapsing empire, we are faced with 
the problem of reforming tribes. Look to your 
ancestors and listen to your sexual messages as you 
select your tribe-members. 

There are mountain people and shore people. 
There are village people and land people. Your 
national and racial origins are preserved, alive, in 
your neurological and cellular equipment. The 
basic messages of blood and sperm are experienced 
in every detail of daily life. 

Awareness of, and delicate sensitivity to, their 
ancient styles facilitate harmonious tribal living and 
rewarding inter-tribal contact. Ignorance of racial 
and sexual tendencies breeds chaos. 

Civilized people are tribal people. 

Urban people are usually blind to the essence 
differences which give glorious variety to organic 
existence and human life. 

Bill Burroughs came to visit, a dignified, sage, 
complex genius-shaman-poet-guide from a dif- 
ferent, but sympathetic tribe. Our obtuse game- 
playing paid disrespect to him and his clan. 

And when I heard the poet scold me, I turned 
towards him, covered with such shame that even 
now it circles through my memory. 

When you return, poet, we will offer you the 
ancient pipe of peace. 

Bill Burroughs is one of the few word works 

It is a man-eating trap that 
ends in green goo. 

Throw back their ersatz im- 

It will fall apart before you 
can get out of the big store. 

Flush their drug kicks down 
the drain. 

They are poisoning and 
monopolizing the hallucino- 
genic drugs. 

Learn to make it without 
any chemical support. 

All that they offer is a 
screen to cover retreat from 
the colony they have so dis- 
gracefully mismanaged. 

To cover travel arrange- 
ments so they will never 
have to pay the constitu- 
ents they have betrayed and 
sold out. 

232 00 The Celestial Messenger 

(man-aged or totally reverbished ) that historians Once these arrangements 

will turn to for a grasp. You may call Hassan to ? c P |e * *!* "'" *i" 
. , r .11 . i r i . TT i r tne P |ace U P behind them, 

right tor you. You will stay to right tor him. He left 

Harvard, bowing three times and disappeared into 

his characters. 

He is a knife-edge hero undulled by rhetoric. Yes, 

talk louder, Bill, talk louder. 



Has supreme success. 

It furthers one to cross the great 

Before the starting point, three days. 
After the starting point, three days. 



sd-The Drop-Out Drug: 

Od H 



Fall 1961 3 

Guide: Michael hollingshead g Q 

Oracle: XIV 

tr 1 

Possession in Great Measure S3 

The Clinging, Flame 

The Creative, Heaven 

Fire in heaven above: 

The image of possession in great measure. 

Thus the superior man curbs evil and furthers 

And thereby obeys the benevolent will of 



TRIP 12 


June 19, 1962 

Dear Dr. Leary: 

On June 12th a Mr. Michael 
Hollingshead purchased by 
personal check an air ticket 
to Jamaica using your 
name as reference. 

Your secretary confirmed 
that Mr. Hollingshead 
worked on your Harvard re- 
search project. 

We have just received word 
from the bank that Mr. Hol- 
lingshead's account is 

We would appreciate any 
information you could give 
us which would enable us 
to obtain the funds owed us. 

Sincerely yours, 
J. Everett Finch 
Credit Manager 


Late October 1961. A morning of long-distance 
phone calls, research planning meetings, the mail. 
A letter from Allen Ginsberg in Calcutta. He's 
been smoking marijuana at the burning ghats by 
the Ganges. Indian holy men wear beards, long 
hair, don't wash, smoke pot. Just like Greenwich 
Village. Visionary drop-outs from the social game. 
Looking for the God kick. Meetings with Harvard 
students writing honors theses, appointments. Dr. 
Leary, there's a Michael Hollingshead on the line 
from Oxford, England, wants to talk to you. 
So may I introduce to you 

Bristly, formal, English accent. Dr. Leary, Mi- 
chael Hollingshead here. I have been working with 
Professor G. E. Moore at Oxford Mr. Moore sends 
his fondest greetings, by the way. There are many 
aspects of our work that I think will interest you. I 
wonder if it would be possible to arrange an ap- 
pointment. Lunch? Quite so, that would be fine. 
Lunch next week Tuesday. Fine. 

The fact youve known for all these years 
Michael turned out to be a series of surprises. 
Medium height, medium bald, medium-aged man 
of thirty. His voice was urbane. His face twinkling, 
aristocratic and somehow gross. 
He dont really want to top the show 
But I thought that you might like to know 
That the singers going to write a wrong 
Lunch at the Faculty Club was boring. He had 
little to say about G. E. Moore. He drank two 
bottles of beer. There was something evasive about 
the conversation. As lunch ended he told me that 
he was a writer, just finishing a novel. Oh, what's it 
about? May I have a minute to tell you? Go ahead. 
The novel is about a bank clerk whose ambition in 
life was to levitate. For years he studied with Oc- 
cult teachers, yogis, and read the wisdom of the 


Fall 1961 00 235 

East. For years he meditated and practiced in his 
room, to no avail. 

Then one day at the bank, standing behind the 
tellers window, counting pounds, shillings, and 
pence, he found himself lifting slowly from the 
floor. A half-inch, an inch, two inches, he closed his 
eyes and let himself drift. When he opened his eyes 
he was two feet above the floor just about to soar 
up beyond the grill. With quick presence of mind 
he reached for the top ledge and arrested his 
upward motion. Quickly he yanked himself down 
to the ground, glanced around nervously to make 
sure nobody had seen him, and stood there perspir- 
ing, shaking, frightened, and exulting. 

After a minute he experimentally released his 
grasp on the counter and felt his shoes leaving the 
ground. He reached down again and with his left 
hand shoved the window-closed sign forward. After 
five minutes he felt something click in his head. He 
let go of the counter and felt the reassuring pull of 
gravity hold his feet to the floor. 

He thought of nothing else that night. At the 
same hour the next day, while he was counting out 
pounds, shillings, and pence, he felt energy surging 
through his body, and quietly the room began to 
slide downward. For the next fifteen minutes he 
carried on his work with one foot hooked under- 
neath the bottom bar of the calculating machine. 

That night at home, through meditation deep- 
ened by yoga, he tried to duplicate the levitation, 
but nothing happened. The following day, how- 
ever, just after lunch, it happened again and this 
time, to his horror, it persisted. Fifteen minutes, 
twenty minutes, a half-hour, an hour, he clung to 
the window with one foot wedged under the calcu- 
lating machine. He was suffused with a feeling 
of lightness. Delightful electrical forces surged 
through his body. A feeling of exultation and reve- 
lation washed over him, but under all was the 
nagging worry, what was he going to do? If he 
relaxed, gave in to the ecstatic flow, he knew that 
he would slowly spiral upward in his white shirt 
and flowered tie, and charcoal-gray business suit, 
before the astonished and angry eyes of the bank 
employees, and the customers. Perspiring and trem- 


C/O General Delivery 
Old Town 

My dear Tim, 

It has been a busy day in 
the garden and hardly one 
that I would care to repeat 
too often. 

The lawn was in a terrible 
state, with weeds all over 
the place and large patches 
of dried grass which called 
attention to the many 
months of neglect by the 
previous tenants. 

As it was, our difficulties 
were further complicated by 
an almost total lack of 
proper equipment; indeed, 
were it not for palm leaves, 
which we used in place of 
rakes, I doubt whether we 
could have made much 

However, working against 
the clock, we hope to have 
the place tidied up before 
the Independence celebra- 
tions begin, on August 6. 

Others, less attentive to 
floral decoration but more 
efficient in matters of grow- 
ing plants, have had a cer- 
tain amount of difficulty re- 
cently from the authorities. 

236 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

I understand that ganja, an 
Arawak word for pot, is il- 
legal here. Despite my as- 
surances to the press and 
elsewhere of its essentially 
religious significance I'm 
afraid, however, that we live 
in an age of superstition 
and ignorance and, how- 
ever well motivated were 
the actions of a Mr. Lloyd 
Scott in growing ganja in 
his back garden, I doubt 
whether his protests at its 
confiscation by the police 
and their subsequent ac- 
tion in marching him to the 
station will have much in- 
fluence with the local mag- 
istrates, all of the whom are 
agreed on the dangers of 
having people blowing 
ganja: "It rots both the 
brain and the soul." 

All the news for now. 

Please drop me a few lines. 

We are both well and 
happy, getting more than 
our share of the sun and 
feeling close to the still 
centre of things. 

Warmest regards to you, 


bling, he went through the routines of business 
until closing time, his right foot holding him to the 
floor. Then grasping the counter so that his knuckles 
blanched white with the force, he slowly and delib- 
erately walked the rectilinear path to the corner of 
the room. Quickly switching with his left hand to 
grab a table top he turned to the door. There was 
one agonizing space between the desk and the door 
where there was nothing to hold onto. He bent 
down, pretending to tie his shoelaces, and, with a 
sudden leap launched himself and soared to the 
doorknob, which he was only just able to catch with 
his right hand as he floated past. 

The rest of the trip home to his apartment was an 
ecstatic nightmare. Never was the sky so blue. His 
eyes were microscopes registering the jewel-like 
beauty and precision of the sidewalks, and lamp 
posts. He was a fish swimming in a diamond- 
studded, colorful lagoon. But a fish with one in- 
cessant problem. How to avoid floating up through 
the energy-charged watery environment when his 
role and social duty was obviously to crawl crablike 
along the lagoon bottom. 

Holding on to a street light, he hailed a cab. A 
quick transfer of hands to the taxi door. Finally into 
his living room where he roped himself to his sofa. 
He phoned the office to announce a two-week sick 
leave. A call to his fiancee to come at once. 

He had, it seemed, been courting a beautiful 
young woman for several months. A certain caution 
and heavy seriousness on his part inclined her to 
resist his advances. But now he announced that he 
had taken leave of his job, perhaps not to return, 
and that he was headed for an isolated lake in the 
country. Fascinated, she agreed to go with him. 
Here perhaps was the casual and careless lover she 
would prefer. 

Their room in the country inn had a balcony 
which opened onto the lake below. They dined 
there with candlelight, the champagne glasses glit- 
tering in the flickering flame. 

The meal ended and with a caressing, wrenching 
kiss, she moved to the bathroom, sending back a 
glance at the four-poster bed. He undressed quickly 
with one hand holding the mattress. She emerged 
from the bathroom naked, hair loose around her 

Fall 1961 00 237 

shoulders, and he reached out his hands to embrace 
her. And then, softly, tenderly, gently turning like a 
balloon on a summer afternoon at the sky park, he 
floated up, up, beyond her outstretched arms and 
her beautiful face now transfigured with awe and 
terror. Up, up, to the ceiling where with an easy jolt 
he found himself pinned. 

Michael Hollingshead was leaning forward with 
his head somewhat bowed, his eyes down, his 
fingers making little marks on the table cloth. My 
cigarette, untouched, had an inch-long ash. Michael 
glanced up. His eyes caught mine. A sudden look of 
amused despair. He shrugged his shoulders and 
raised his hands in studied helplessness. I must 
apologize, my dear chap. I didn't mean to go on 
boring you this way. Don't be silly. Please go on. A 
soft smile rippled across Michael's face. He nodded 
and dropped his head again. 

She stood below, aching, naked and vulnerable. 
First upset, and disbelieving. Then, as he ex- 
plained, lying on his back on the ceiling, his arms 
gesticulating downward, she became intrigued, de- 

After two hours she was sitting on a chair with 
her legs crossed, smoking and crushing cigarettes 
out in the ash tray. He lay on the ceiling, eyes 
closed, filmy with sweat, concentrating, willing, 
meditating. Finally, she moved briskly to the bath- 
room and emerged fully dressed. She paused at the 
door, Call me, when you're ready to come down, 
she said. And she was gone. 

His arms waved after her like tree limbs in a 
wind storm. He lay spread-eagled against the 
white, ash-gray, paint-flaking ceiling. And then the 
tears fell and collected in two little pools on the bed 

By this time I was half an hour late to a faculty 
meeting, and as we rushed back along the Cam- 
bridge streets, Michael quickly and with a certain 
frantic pressure, talked to me about LSD experi- 
ments he had been doing in New York with a 
doctor. The importance of psychedelic drugs. He 
wanted something from me but I sloped off with a 
quick handshake. Fascinating lunch. I loved your 
book and your story. Let's do it again. 

I forgot about the episode. The following Thurs- 


19 Brompton Square 
London, SW3 
1st Nov. 1962 

My dear Timothy, 

I received a letter from the 
Parapsychology Foundation 
this morning, cutting me off 
their payroll. 

It seems that they were sur- 
prised that you were sur- 
prised to be informed by 
them that I had a grant to 
write a paper on your set- 
and-setting theories, etc. 
and also of their help in 
getting me back to England 
from Jamaica. 

I think it is now my turn to 
be surprised, for my letters 
to you explained all of this; 
in fact, in my August letter 
I recall having asked you to 
read through the MS before 
I submitted it. 

However, the issue here is 
not whether I deceived you 
or not, or even how you 
view what I think about the 
Harvard-Concord project 
it is your persistent refer- 
ence, to other people, and 
most probably to the foun- 
dation officials as well, to 
me as a sort of 'con-man' 
who goes around trying to 
trick people out of money, 
or whatever. 

While this may explain, in 
a limited way, something 
about the manner in which 
I apparently do things, it 
no more explains the truth 
of what I really am and 
what I really am seeking in 
life than to also say of me 
that I eat bananas for phal- 
lic reasons. 

238 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

Both are valid assumptions 
in a certain context. 

As I understand the term, a 
con-man is someone whose 
progress in life is founded 
upon a desire taken for 
reality to get something 
for nothing, a person whose 
behaviour, moral and physi- 
cal, rests not on seeking 
to achieve (as the spiritual 
masters have always af- 
firmed) in the timeless and 
eternal 'now,' but in some 
Utopian future; a person, in 
brief, who lives through the 
present because of the 
prospect of that golden age 
to come. 

But it also assumes some 
kind of criminal or nasty 

When I met you I had just 
got back from a month of 
horror and emptiness in 
Houston, was being tempted 
by my wife to settle again 
in New York but on very 
different terms than form- 
erly and was broke and 
needing a job. 

You were very kind to me 
at a point when nothing 
seemed to be going for me, 
and I shall always be grate- 

day I had a busy schedule a lecture to an ad- 
vanced seminar of undergraduates, from ten to 
twelve, and then a one-o'clock plane from Boston to 
New York. After the lecture I rushed to the office 
and found my secretary standing with a peculiar 
look on her face, handing me a letter. It was written 
in tiny, hardly legible script. He had spent the week 
living alone in a dreary room in Cambridge. He had 
come to Harvard because I was the only person in 
the world who could help him. He knew how 
vulgar and gamelike his ploy might seem, that he 
would kill himself if I could not see him and help 
him, but the insight into his own vulgarity was 
simply an added wound to a riddled and desperate 
organism. He would await my call at the rooming 
house number until five that afternoon. And after 
that, good luck and good-bye. Well, this was a 
pretty crisis, coming when I had exactly twenty 
minutes before leaving for the airport. I dispatched 
George Litwin, who was part of what we at that 
time called our Love Engineer Group, to pick up 
Michael at his rooming house. The plan was that I 
could talk to him on the way to my plane. 

They were back immediately. With George at the 
wheel, and Michael in the back seat we headed for 
the airport. The immediate problem seemed simple 
enough. He was broke, without a job, separated 
from his wife and child for financial reasons. Are 
you sure that's all? I asked. He looked at me once 
again with the amused horror look, and shrugged, 
Well, there are all the cosmic problems, of course, 
but if I could get a base with my wife and family 
I'd feel up to dealing with the rest. 

That sounded fair enough, so a quick plan was 
evolved. Michael could take my car and drive to 
New York, pick up his wife that very evening and 
come back. They could stay on the third floor of my 
house. His wife could be housekeeper until he got a 
job. I could sense in Michael's body a subtle relief, 
like a poker player whose bluff had not been called. 

When we arrived at the airport, Michael followed 
and pulled me aside for a minute between the car 
and the Eastern Airlines door. There's one thing I 
should tell you. I know you have friends in New 
York. I know you're a friend of Winston London, 

Fall 1961 00 239 

and I think you should know that for the last six 
months I have worked very closely with him. We 
parted on very bad terms. He'll say wicked things 
about me which I'm sure you're sophisticated 
enough to realize emerge from his state of con- 
sciousness rather than the realities of mine. In- 
triguing, but I was in too much of a hurry to 
pursue it. Winston London was a famous New 
York multimillionaire with a good heart and ten- 
derly high-minded ideals. He was continually being 
victimized by fourth-rate low-level promoters. 

Cpl. Michael's Lonely Dope Club Band 

The fact you've known for all these years 

In New York I went first to the East Side apart- 
ment of Max Fox, a five-hundred-year-old teen-age 
Levantine confidant at the Sultan's court, some- 
times in favor, sometimes in disgrace. Always wise, 
shrewd, funny, complaining, completely involved in 
extravagant baroque plans to turn-on the Sultan, to 
turn-on the harem, to turn-on himself. 

In his current casting Max was a Hollywood 
publicity man. Friend and adviser to the most 
beautiful women in New York. Max's delight was to 
drive around in a chauffeured Cadillac with two 
tall slender blondes, champagne cooler, stereo- 
phonic sound, and the ashtrays loaded with 
Panama red. Until the bills came due and the 
Cadillac no longer drew up to his door. There was 
never a shortage of interesting men and beautiful 
girls in Max's flat. He performed one of the most 
valuable social functions in any complex urban 
society. His apartment was communications center 
for the most interesting people in New York. The 
price of admission was beauty or power or talent. 
And you were never allowed to promote or come 
on. That, after all, was the privilege of the house. 

It's wonderful to be there 

It's certainly a mill 

So many lovely customers 

Max met me at the door. As I walked to the sofa I 
remembered that Winston London was one of 
his friends. Max, can you do me a favor? I've just 
met a man whom I'm about to get involved with. 
He says he knows Winston London. And there 
seems to be some friction in the relationship. Could 

And when I knew you better 
I told you about the insti- 
tute business in New York, 
detailing the passage of 
events which culminated in 
having to face and deal 
with the New York gang- 

What I didn't tell you it 
seemed rather flat after 
the stories of nightly visits 
from the juke-box czar 
was that I always used the 
institute to do for others 
what the Parapsychology 
Foundation did for me. 

And there was also room in 
the institute for 'improb- 
able' people like beatniks, 
paintingless painters, bar- 
room pundits, and, with the 
contrivance of the editor of 
The Hobo News, for old 
men who only vaguely 
knew where they were at 
and needing some funds. 

Why, then, should I also 
have got myself involved 
with people like the gang- 

Why not? 

Why, too, should I bother 
with hobos, millionaires, 
Harvard psychologists, and 
impecunious art students. 

The answer is that I do like 
people and there is the 
corollary, I want people to 
like me. 

240 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

While in general I am a 
happy person I spend my 
life and earn my living do- 
ing what I want to do bits 
have been chipped off my 
heart these past twelve 

These are what I am at- 
tempting to put back here in 
London, where I feel at 
home again. 

Since in all probability this 
will be my last letter to you 
I know how sensitive you 
become and also, from the 
precedents of the past, you 
enjoy (in a strictly psycho- 
logical sense though not, I 
suspect, in a larger, Di- 
onysian sense) getting 
friends to reject you I 
want to get it all down, out, 
and finished. 

In the first place I have 
never 'conned' anyone in 
the criminal sense. 

However much I enjoy giv- 
ing, adding, and living this 
image, it is not factually 

Because I live like a gang- 
ster, i.e. on the fringe of so- 
ciety, it is to be expected 
that I shall be critically in- 
terpreted by others for 
whom life is one long 
mountain path. 

But I fail to understand why 
you should want to do so. 

you get a line on that for me? Max was delighted. 
He reached for a phone and dialed a number. It 
was a delicatessen owned and operated by a former 
bodyguard of Winston London. First there was a 
conversation about a case of Scotch and some 
salami and cheese. Max's voice and the voice of the 
invisible bodyguard crackled through the room 
from a special telephone amplifier system. The 
slightest whisper on the phone would be heard in 
loud volume in any part of the apartment. After the 
ordering, Max got down to business. Tony, do you 
by chance know anything about a fellow named 
Hollingshead? Says he used to know Winston. 
There was a brief pause and then tough gangster 
prose came booming out of the amplifier. Hollings- 
head, that no-good, two-bit, English con man. Lis- 
ten, what do you have to do with him? Whatever it 
is, drop it. Max's voice came back calming, ex- 
plaining that he was doing a favor for a friend. 
Tony's voice continued. Listen, that scoundrel 
caused Winston more trouble than any ten of the 
last con men that have come down Fifth Avenue. 
He's got a record on the continent as long as your 
arm. He's wanted by Interpol. He's bad news, 
buddy. Stay away from that Hollingshead. 

The one and only Silly Fears 

Max turned to me pleased with the efficiency of 
his intelligence service. Well, that's the end of that 
character. I'm not so sure, Max. That's just the 
opinion of one guy, a nice enough person, no 
doubt, but one whose spiritual focus may leave 
something to be desired. Let me get another read- 
ing on him from someone else. I reached for the 
phone and dialed George Litwin, back in Cam- 
bridge. George was going to take Michael back to 
his home for dinner before he started out in my car 
for New York, and I wanted to get George's im- 
pressions about this mysterious stranger. In a few 
seconds George's voice reverberated through the 
room. What happened with Michael, I said. 
George's words, chuckling, energetic, always en- 
thusiastic, bouncing around the room. It all went 
great, Tim. He's a fascinating guy, with a great 
imagination. He's pretty screwed up and needs 
help. But he's seen a lot of things. He's taken LSD 

Fall 1961 00 241 

many, many times. He'll probably teach us a lot. 
Do you think we did the right thing in inviting him 
to stay at my house? Absolutely, said George. We 
can't do anything but learn from him. 

That the swingers going to swing along 

And he wants you all to sing a song 

Then I quickly sketched in for George the report 
we had just received from the bodyguard. Well, 
Tim, I'm sure that a lot of what this bodyguard 
says is true. I'm sure that Michael has had a 
checkered career in the past in situations where 
money and conning is involved. But what can he 
possibly con us out of? We have nothing material to 
lose and our only ambitions are scientific and celes- 
tial. How can he possibly hurt us? Even if he is a 
rascal, isn't it our business to rehabilitate people? 
Can't trust and love applied judiciously bring about 
any change we want. I say, if we can't work with 
Michael and use his obvious creativity and enjoy 
his obvious humor and learn from his experiences, 
we might as well go back to the run-of-the-mill 
business of college professors. That's exactly my 
conclusion, I said. See ya, George, and I hung up. 
Max had a quizzical look on his face. 

So let me introduce to you 

The one and only Silly Fears 

And Cpl. Michael's Lonely Dope Club Band 

Michael and his wife and child arrived and that 
lasted about ten days. Michael spent most of the 
time out of the house vaguely looking for a job. But 
I got an uneasy feeling after a while that he was 
spending his afternoons either in barrooms or high 
on LSD in the Boston Museum. His wife suddenly 
announced that she was leaving because of his 
insistence that she persuade her father to cash in 
some savings bonds. 

I remember the scene when the taxi came to pick 
up Michael's wife and child. We stood an awkward 
foursome at the door, and as they left, two tears 
trickled down Michael's face. It was moving, 
pathetic, poignant, but there was one thread of 
doubt. Was it an act? If it was, it was so good it 
could only command respect. 

In the next few weeks I got to know Michael 
better, but not much better. He got a job in the 

Why it has become neces- 
sary for you to say to 
people that the group sup- 
ported me for seven or 
eight months when, in real- 
ity, not only was I working 
at Concord on Mondays 
and Thursdays, but I would 
also help out in a number 
of small ways, help you run 
sessions, work positively 
toward your professional 
and private goals. 

More exactly, I played your 
game with you and not my 
own, for the demand of the 
situation pre-empted such a 
possibility, and to continue 
to stay on I had become a 
nursemaid to your ideas 
and an odd-job man in the 

It was an enjoyable, tre- 
mendously rewarding ex- 
perience but it was not 
what I would want for my- 
self for the rest of my life, 
which we all conceded. 

I was paid a salary for this 
in the months of January 
February $400 a month, of 
which you had half for 
board and accommodation. 

From March to the end of 
May I was given pocket- 
money, and $200 toward my 
fare home. 

242 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

I also take a very dim view 
of the rumour you are put- 
ting out to one and all that 
I suddenly became para- 
noid I was, certainly, 
angry with the way certain 
events of my life had be- 
come altered in the retell- 
ing, but the evidence was 
real and not, as now you 
seem to have convinced 
yourself, illusory or that I 
am circulating vile rumours 
about little Dickie, threat- 
ened to go to the prison 
to get prisoners to black- 
mail him, etc. 

Now this is not only out of 
pattern but is, in the very 
real sense of the set-up at 
Concord which both of us 
understand quite impos- 

It has as much basis for 
reality as saying I continu- 
ally seek sexual satisfaction 
through orgies. 

For while this is an in- 
triguing daydream, the real- 
ity is that all the time I was 
living with you I hardly ever 
went out in the evenings 
a necessary prerequisite for 
the orgiast and the near- 
est I ever came, or wanted 
to come, to an orgy was the 
day you tumed-on the 
church ministers. 

So it all goes, I suppose. 

Each of us upsetting either 
ourself or somebody else, 
the incessant see-saw of 
the conscious mind which 
in truth we try to escape 
with these drugs in the 
hope of finding ourselves in 

Harvard Square Bookstore, dutifully took the bus 
from Newton Center at 7:30 every morning and 
would drop by my office when the store closed at 6 
p.m. We would have a glass of sherry and drive 
back home. Every fourth night he would ask if he 
could bring a girl home for dinner. His dates were 
strange, thin ladies with long hair, whom he would 
pick up as they browsed through the book stacks. 
He loved to take psilocybin, although he was 
patronizing in comparing the mushrooms with 
LSD, the stronger psychedelic drug which he had 
used extensively in New York, where a physician 
friend of his was doing research. 

He told a funny story about his first LSD experi- 
ence. He had smoked marijuana and hashish regu- 
larly and when he heard about LSD he contacted 
his medical friend and persuaded him to write a 
research proposal using LSD on amoeba, bacteria, 
and virus cells. The drug came in a one-gram 
package. Michael and his friend the doctor puzzled 
over the problem of how to divide the powdered 
gram of LSD into the one-hundreth of a million 
units which made up a standard dose of the incred- 
ibly powerful drug. They finally decided to mix the 
drug in powdered sugar which they wet down with 
water and spread out on a wide piece of wax paper. 
There were 10,000 doses in a small rectangle of wet 
sugar on the kitchen table. At first they drew a line 
down the middle. That made 5,000 on the left and 
5,000 on the right. They they cut a line with a knife 
horizontally to quarter the supply. And then, by 
continual slices with the knife they divided the 
stache down to usable doses. They figured that one 
teaspoon made a double dose. This calibration 
established, they carefully scooped the paste into 
jars. When this was finished, there was the problem 
of what to do with the sticky residue on the wax 
paper. Michael reached down and tore the sheet of 
wax paper in half, and stuffed it in his mouth. His 
friend the doctor did the same. 

They knew intellectually about the awesome po- 
tency of LSD. They knew logically that the in- 
visible amount of residue they had swallowed was 
a few hundred millionths of a gram, but never 
having taken the eerie chemical before, they were 





244 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

Yet stay around to concili- 
ate the local divinity and 
by that become all too 

I genuinely feel, though, 
that in spite of everything, 
the universe is good. 

Not perhaps good as op- 
posed to bad, but a sort of 
goodness which encom- 
passes both good and bad 
at the same time. 




Hadley Down House 


Battle, Sussex 

26th November, 1962 

My dear Timothy, 

Yet another change of ad- 
dress this time, for several 

I have taken a lease on an 
old, rambling house near 
the coast, with views of 
woods and fields and nar- 
row lanes. 

It is here that I hope to see 
the fruits of my labours. 

I would hope that we might 
preserve some harmony in 
our relationship by laugh- 
ing off my dark moods and 
melodramatic postures. 

completely unprepared for the effect of what was 
perhaps ten normal doses. The effect hit suddenly, 
and for five hours the two of them lay back para- 
lized on kitchen chairs, their eyes bulging, com- 
pletely severed from their bodies, from their minds, 
from normal reality. Helplessly spinning through 
cosmic landscapes, unable to speak or move, com- 
municating only by a shining powerless eyeball 
contact, like two astronauts drifting helplessly 
through space, or two men caught in diving suits 
miles below the surface. 

Since that time, Michael's consciousness, his 
thinking and his actions, were nothing but exten- 
sions of that trip. He had died, spun out into the 
richness of interior space, had unraveled the riddle 
of the cosmic joke and was now cautiously, incredu- 
lously, comically, moving through the marionette 
show of normal reality. 

He was very eager for me to take LSD, but I 
resisted the idea. Everything I had heard about 
lysergic acid sounded ominous to me. The mush- 
rooms and peyote had grown naturally in the 
ground and had been used for thousands of years 
in wise Indian cultures. LSD, on the other hand, 
was a laboratory product and had quickly fallen 
into the hands of doctors and psychiatrists. Then, 
too, I was scared. The sacred mushrooms were my 
familiar territory. I had them harnessed up to my 
brand of revelation and ecstasy. It was obvious that 
the more powerful LSD swept you far beyond the 
tender wisdom of psilocybin. Like everyone else, I 
was both fascinated and frightened by the lysergic 

Michael invited me one night up to his bedroom 
and took from his dresser a mayonnaise jar packed 
with the moist sugar paste. There it is, he said. The 
key to miracle and meaning. When are you going to 
take it? I shook my head. I'm having trouble 
enough understanding the sacred mushrooms. 
Sometime I'll take your LSD, but I'm not ready 
now. He laughed. Psilocybin, the child's toy of the 
Indians. After you've taken LSD you'll view psilo- 
cybin as I do. Take a triple dose and watch tele- 
vision. You change the black and white to color. 

In early December, Maynard and Flo Ferguson 
came up for the weekend. Maynard was playing in 

Fall 1961 00 245 

a Boston dance hall. It was an easy, pleasant week- 
end. Flo did beautiful things around the house and 
Maynard told funny stories about the band busi- 
ness. I had made it a rule that there was to be no 
grass smoking in the house and they would leave 
with Michael and turn-on while driving around the 
neighborhood. They were planning to leave for 
New York about five o'clock on Sunday afternoon. 
We were sitting in front of the fireplace, in the 
living room, and Michael was telling LSD stories. 
Flo and Maynard's interest perked up. The next 
thing I knew Michael was bounding downstairs 
with the mayonnaise jar and a spoon. A tablespoon, 
I noticed, overflowing. I was listening to records 
and not paying too much attention, until after 
about half an hour I looked up and I saw that 
Maynard and Flo were gone from this world, into 
some sort of trance. They were sitting on the sofa 
motionless, their eyes closed. But I could feel 
energy emanating from their bodies. I turned down 
the volume on the record player and sat watching 
them. After about fifteen minutes Flo opened her 
eyes and she laughed. It was not a nervous or a 
funny laugh. It was the chuckle of someone who 
was dead and gone and sitting on some heavenly 
mountain top and looking down at the two billion 
years of evolution the way you'd look at a transient 
episode in a children's playground. 

She looked at me and began to talk. It was pure 
advaita vedanta. She was Krishna, lecturing Arjuna. 
She was reciting, in chuckling, hip Manhattanese, 
the essence of Hindu philosophy. Maya. Nondual- 
ity. Reincarnation. And this, mind you, coming 
from little Flo Ferguson, who hadn't finished high 
school and had never read a philosophy book in her 
life. She thought Indians wore headdresses and 
feathers. Now from her smiling rosebud lips was 
pouring the most powerful religious statement I 
had ever heard in my life. Timothy, you've got to 
take this. Man, it's the beginning and the end. 
You've got to take it. 

I looked over and Michael was observing me, 
carefully, with a smile on his face. He raised his 
eyebrows and shrugged. Well? I looked at May- 
nard. He was glowing quietly, smiling and 

No doubt remembering 
mainly our happier mo- 
ments together, I was gen- 
uinely surprised when I 
heard about your conver- 
sations with the foundation 

And this may have led me 
into some egregious blun- 

May we not now look upon 
all of this as a spiritual ex- 
ercise I know that I would 
personally prefer to forget 
all about it and return to the 
friendlier, more colourful 
and positive, status anti- 




My dear Timothy 

There is a village in South 
England remote from ambi- 
tion and from civilization; 
an unvisited oasis, a sym- 
bol of what some say is re- 
served for the soul a 
group of elms, a little turn 
of the parson's wall, a small 
paddock beyond the grave- 
yard close, tended by one 
man, with a low wall of very 
old stone guarding it all 
round, a pub, a cricket 
green where the scent 
of grass in summer is 
breathed only by those who 
are native to this unvisited 

And it is to here that I have 
lately returned. 

246 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

I have left the possessive 
folds of the American Para- 
psychology Foundation 
Moloch and Mammon, Be- 
lial and Beelzebub, organ- 
ized under their chairman, 

So Faustus tells them that 
their bargain has not at- 
tracted him because the 
satisfactions they all offer 
him are only partial and 
static ones. 

The trouble with the foun- 
dation's executives is that 
they are stuck . . . for- 
ever playing the same 
played-out hand. 

When you turn out fixedly to 
get it, every earthly para- 
dise turns into something 
else . . . like going to live 
in a poem and finding it a 
government regulation when 
you get there. 

Spring thoughts; nearing 
Easter and memories of last 
year's Easter, and all the 
fun of Newton Center. 

I hope all is going well for 

I think of you a lot. 

Remember me, please, to 
those who know me and are 
still with you. 

With fondest regards, 


Then my leader said, I am one who goes below 
from ring to ring with this still living man. It is my 
mission here to show him hell. ( Inferno XII ) 

I guess this is the time, Michael, I said. With 
quick bounds he was out of the room, and I could 
hear his tennis shoes rippling up the stairs, and 
he returned with the mayonnaise jar, and the table- 
spoon, heaped to overflowing with the sugar paste. 
George Litwin, just about to leave to go home to 
supper, was sitting next to me. Michael glanced at 
him. He nodded. Why not? and took his spoonful. 

It took about a half -hour to hit. And it came 
sudden and irresistible. An endless deep swampy 
marsh on some other planet teaming and steaming 
with energy and life, and in the swamp an enor- 
mous tree whose roots were buried miles down and 
whose branches were foliated out miles high and 
miles wide. And then this tree, like a cosmic 
vacuum cleaner, went ssssuuuck, and every cell in 
my body was swept into the root, twigs, branches, 
and leaves of this tree. Tumbling and spinning, 
down the soft fibrous avenues to some central point 
which was just light. Just light, but not just light. It 
was the center of life. A burning, dazzling, throb- 
bing, radiant core, pure pulsing, exulting light. An 
endless flame that contained everything sound, 
touch, cell, seed, sense, soul, sleep, glory, glorifying, 
God, the hard eye of God. Merged with this puls- 
ing flame it was possible to look out and see and 
participate in the entire cosmic drama. Past and 
future. All forms, all structures, all organisms, all 
events, were illusory, television productions pulsing 
out from the central eye. Everything that I had ever 
experienced and read about was bubble-dancing 
before me like a nineteenth-century vaudeville 
show. My illusions, the comic costumes, the strange 
everchanging stage props of trees and bodies and 
theater sets. All spinning out from the momentary 
parts of the central God-eye-heart-penis-light. 

It was forty years ago today 

Cpl. Michael taught the band to play 

They've been going in and out of fash 

But they're guaranteed to be a smash 

248 00 The Drop-Out Drug 


Excelsior Scientific Trust 
40 East 84th Street 
New York, N.Y. 
20th January 1964 

My dear Tim and all, 

It may be all right to keep 
yourself to yourself up in 
Millbrook if you're eccen- 
tric or a genius; it's blokes 
like us wot needs the help- 
ful enmity of intelligent 

New York is full of chickens 
on electric spits. 

This, say the chickens, is 
our Auschwitz, and all poul- 
try keepers are psycho- 

Far-fetched enough; if such 
ingenuity were confined to 
chickens one would hardly 
object, but it pervades 
American psychology, blur- 
ring issues and ideas in a 
haze of ambiguity every bit 
as thick as the dripping oil 
with which those chickens 
are cooking in windows are 
baptized one might almost 
add as methodically sloppy, 
and the thought as well as 
the language is always spill- 
ing over into society and 
the outside world: a con- 
venient formula, which 
seems to cover every sort 
of human experience, stress 
or contrast in man's inner 
and his outer life. 

This experience is of course endless and inde- 
scribable. After several billion years I found myself 
on my feet moving through a puppet show. Where 
does Timothy Leary belong in this dance of illu- 
sion? I thought of my kids and walked somehow 
upstairs to the second-floor landing and opened the 
door to my daughter's room. Susan was sitting in 
bed, the classic thirteen-year-old with her hair up in 
curlers, frowning in concentration at the school 
book in her lap, while rock-and-roll music blasted 
through the room. It was pure Saturday Evening 
Post Cover Americana. The puppet doll teen-ager 
glanced up. Hi, Dad. She was biting a pencil and 
looking at the book. I slumped against the wall, 
looking with amazement at this marionette 
stranger, from assembly-line America. She glanced 
up again, quickly. Hi, Dad, what would you like for 
Christmas? She went on biting the pencil, frowning 
at the book, waving slightly at the beat of the 
music. In a minute she looked up again. Hi, Dad, I 
love you. 

A shock of terror convulsed me. This was my 
daughter and this was the father-daughter game. A 
shallow, superficial, stereotyped, meaningless ex- 
change of Hi, Dad, Hi, Sue, How are you Dad? 
How's school? What do you want for Christmas? 
Have you done your homework? The plastic doll 
father and the plastic doll daughter both mounted 
on little wheels, rolling by each other around and 
around on fixed tracks. A complete vulgarization of 
the real situation two incredibly complex, trillion- 
cell clusters, rooted in an eternity of evolution, 
sharing for a flicker this space-time coordinate. And 
offered this rare chance to merge souls and bring 
out the divinity in the other, but desiccated and 
deadened into the Hi Dad Hi Susan squeaks. 

I looked at her beseechingly, straining for real 
contact. I was stunned with guilt. 

With microscopic clarity, I saw the egocentricity, 
the sham of my devoted-father routine. Is it too 
late, can I come back, glorify this rare trembling 
opportunity? I turned and slowly walked down- 
stairs to the front hallway. Eleven-year-old Jack sat 
on the floor watching television. I sat down next to 
him. Without taking his eyes from the tube he said, 
Hi, Dad. Jack, Jack. Great program, Dad. Once 

Fall 1961 00 249 

again the piercing realization of my blind misuse of 
this divine Buddha child. 

I followed his gaze to the television set. Jack 
Benny, wise, noble, long-suffering guru, was going 
through a routine, about death, the transience of 
life. Memories from my boyhood Fred Allen, Jack 
Pearl, Will Bogers, Charlie Chaplin. Each week the 
cosmic television show repeating the same message, 
infusing into the frail, karmic forms of Benny, 
Allen, Rogers, the ancient message, comic and 
tragic. Don't you see? It's spinning by you, blinding 
you. Don't you catch on? You're going, you're 
going. Use the few seconds that remain. 

I suddenly knew that everything is a message 
from the impersonal, relentless, infinite, divine in- 
telligence, weaving a new web of life each second, 
bombarding us with a message. Don't you see! 
You're nothing! Wake up! Glorify me! Join me! 

Then there were three men on the TV screen. 
One was in a barber's chair, one was facing him, 
the other had his back turned. The third man 
suddenly wheeled around and said, looking straight 
through the television tube, into my eyes, You've 
been dead for two seconds. 

The cosmic playwright uses diverse messages to 
get the point across. It's in a flower, it's in the light 
of a star which takes millions of years to reach your 
eyes. Sometimes for the stupid he even writes it out 
in words in a television drama, for those whose 
obtuseness can only be opened up by the boob 
tube. I'd been dead for two seconds. And this is 
what hell is like. I could look back over the past 
forty years with chagrin, with pain at my blindness. 
Every second presented me with a golden chance 
to tune in, to break through, to glorify, to really 
groove and dance with God's great song. And every 
second of every minute of every hour of every day I 
grimly played out my narrow little mental chess- 
game. The action was still continuing on the tele- 
vision set, but my consciousness was shrieking in 
remorse. Agonbite of inwit! Waste! Waste! Fool! 
How many times had I heard the message? In all 
the great religious books, in all the poems, every- 
place it confronted me. Forget yourself. Tune in on 
the big picture. 

Then I heard music. I looked up at the screen 

Here in New York we are 
still tolerated, having a 
number of respectable peo- 
ple who support our work 
with the lenience usually 
displayed towards the 
crimes committed by mo- 

We have about as much the 
same seclusion and pro- 
tection, however, as the 
brothel areas; but then per- 
haps the infraction of the 
laws in obtaining the ma- 
terial is part of the inherent 

The regret is not that LSD 
disturbs or shocks but that 
it bores. 

Best wishes, 



Excelsior Scientific Trust 

New York 

18th December 1963 

The Pavilion of the Mind 


New York World's Fair 


The Mind Pavilion is the 
culminating point of two 
years of hard speculation 
by its originators. 

250 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

It is impossible to avoid im- 
plicit financial judgments 
about an enterprise that 
must always generate a 
natural public interest, even 
despite itself. 

We shall not try. 

We know it is a marketable 

A last word about immedi- 
ate plans. 

The aim has been to pro- 
duce a show as dignified, 
attractive and pleasure-giv- 
ing as any that has been 
planned for the World's 

We have created what we 
honestly believe is an ex- 
hibit both contemporary 
and exciting, something 
that will encourage intense 
interest among the many 
tens of millions who are ex- 
pected to visit the fair. 

There is of course a natural 
public appetite for mystery: 
People want to hear of 
some unknown thresholds 
just beyond their certain 
knowledge of which travel- 
ers' tales can be told 
with their friends, neigh- 
bors, business colleagues 
hearing about an experi- 
ence which has enriched 
the teller's knowledge, yet 
one which they have not 
yet shared. 

and saw Doris Day leaning towards me, her hands 
beckoning. What was she singing? The second time 
around, I'm so glad I met you, the second time 
around. It suddenly dawned on me, that's what 
death is, that's what hell is. It just keeps going, 
there's no end to it. You have your first chance to 
touch and taste, tissue, direct contact with God's 
energy, and then when that's over, a second time, 
you repeat the whole process, but it's different. 
There's a plastic film between you and the divine 
process around you, your egocentricity, your 
deadening mind has created a plastic hell. That's 
the meaning of ghosts and anguished spirits, 
doomed for eternity to exist, separated from life, 
that precious, fragile gift that we squander every 
second of this so-called mortal reality. The second 
time around. Second time, it's the carbon copy. One 
little interval out of step. This time you are one 
vibration beat behind that ecstatic intersection 
which the living call life and which the tormented 
call paradise. 

Later, I swam into the kitchen. There was a book 
on the table. I flipped it open. In a second I saw the 
history of every word on the page tracing back, 
back, back, back, to the beginnings of written lan- 
guage. Back down to one sentence, The death of 
the father, morte du pere, and in that sentence, 
boiled and bubbled down to the essence of the one 
word, morte, there it was again, the grim con- 

I sat on the kitchen floor, looking at my body, my 
skin of delicately treated leather, exquisitely carved 
but dead. I saw plastic veins, blue and pink, and I 
saw celluloid fingernails. My mind was spinning 
like a computer that had no connection with any- 
thing live no flesh, no cell, no sweat, no smell. I 
had lost my senses, morte. Death. With only the 
mind to spin out its universe of thoughts. Now you 
know what hell is. The mind cut off from the body, 
from life, from seed, from cell. 

George Litwin staggered into the room. He was 
now a nineteenth-century Frenchman, cocky, care- 
free, courageous. He swung around and looked at 
me with anguished eyes. We were both dead men, 
trapped in the doomed submarine. We said noth- 

Fall 1961 00 251 

ing, but our eyes met in sympathetic terror. Gone, 
gone. It's finished. 

It was straight telepathic communication. I was 
in his mind, he was in my mind, we both saw the 
whole thing, the illusion, the artifice, the flimsy 
game-nature of the mental universe. The popeyed 
look of terror changed to mellow resignation and 
the Buddha smiled. He murmured the word, Har- 
vard, smiling. I said, America. He said, Duty. And I 
said, Love. He flinched and then nodded, smiling 
sadly, Yes, love. That was the ultimate confronta- 
tion. The last shattered secret from the Buddha 
bag. It's all an illusion, even love. And what's left? 
The wise, cool, all-seeing eyes and the slight smile 
around the mouth. Acceptance, peace, resigned 
serenity, it's all in your own mind, Baby, the whole 
bit from beginning to end. It is the spinning out of 
your own chessboard. Caesar, Alexander, Christ, 
America, Timothy Leary, George Litwin, even 
love they only exist because you think them. Stop 
thinking them and they do not exist. 

Then George was gone. I floated to the door. 
Perhaps outside the house I could find something 
solid, real, tangible. 

I ran out to the lawn, snow, trees, starlight. It 
had never been more beautiful. Etched, sharp, 
magnified. I stood there listening for the answer. 
Where is the center? What is real? What can we 
do? Then rapidly, but completely, in careful detail I 
recapitulated the social and intellectual history of 
the human race. I relived and worked through 
every solution which the human mind had at- 
tempted. Society, migrations, groupings, tribal 
wanderings, invasions, the planting of crops, the 
building of cities, the restless searching for possi- 
bility and meaning, the moral codes, the taboos 
and kinships, the emergence of stumbling species 
groping for answer, for order, for center, the lost 
mutants trapped in their forebrains, trying to think 
and act their way back to the center. What to do 
and where to go? I could foresee the outcome of 
any action I should begin. And slowly, like a string 
being reeled back, I retraced my steps to that 
central spot in front of the fire where the session 
had begun. Here was the beginning Michael, the 

As in the Pavilion of the 
Mind, this is the stuff of 

It is this healthy curiosity 
in the human temperament 
which will in due course 
make a triumphant success 
of this show. 

In case any doubt still ex- 
ists that the Mind Pavilion 
will be perhaps the out- 
standing success at the 
New York World's Fair, the 
fact is that the public is 
much more interested in re- 
sults and devices than the- 
ory, more involved with see- 
ing and hearing than read- 
ing, more concerned with 
being better than with being 

Hence they will greet an 
exhibition that points to the 
questioning mind. 

A public today doesn't 
really want ideas about the 
evolution of mind but the 
expressive freedom of 
knowing what lies beyond, 
in the future. 

252 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

And, as we have been 
taught to believe, the fu- 
ture's measure is more 
and more coming under the 
precise control and meth- 
ods of modern science. . . . 
We have taken the fact of 
a scientifically-oriented pub- 
lic and mated it directly with 
new knowledge and experi- 
ence as a solution to the 
problem of presenting an 
exhibition drawn almost 
wholly from what we know 
about the mind and its 

We have projected our 
ideas with vigorous and ex- 
citing natural features 
which can be experienced 
by the public close to 
through the use of light, 
sound, color, and technical 

This has meant lots of 
planning before we could 
come up with an exhibit 
which will, we hope, convey 
both the worthy-seeming 
qualities of the human mind 
and the pleasures of self- 
expression and improve- 
ment through a better un- 
derstanding of how the 
mind works. 

Accordingly, a certain face- 
lifting has taken place, in- 
cluding a general design of 
layout, shape, size and 
other structural require- 

master trickster, sitting silently and waiting. May- 
nard and Flo on the couch. Flo draped across 
Maynard's lap. I said something. Flo sat up and 
replied. Maynard's head went back and laughed. 
Then I repeated the same message, Flo sat up, 
Maynard laughed. I repeated the same message. 
Flo sat up and Maynard laughed. We were trapped 
in a time loop. Doomed forever to repeat a brief 
television commercial, over and over again at the 
station break. 

Flo and Maynard were beautiful, stage-dressed, 
made-up characters. The classic frail beauty, and 
the dapper young musician, costumed for their 

I looked at Michael. His sad face bore the record 
of all human suffering. He was clearly one of the 
twelve apostles, cast for the moment in the funny 
little drama of Michael and Cambridge, come to 
teach us the ancient message that the center is back 
by the fire with your friends. Quiet detached trust 
and mutual acceptance of the ultimate cosmological 
horror. Limited. Limited. Limited. Trapped in our 
nervous systems, struggling to catch one glimpse 
every decade or two of the ancient cellular mem- 
brane meaning of life. Waiting patiently through 
those long periods of plastic isolation, until that 
next vibrant contact came. 

George, by this time, had disappeared. His 
ordeal of death and renewal ran along a similar 
line, with only the stage props different. At that 
moment of ultimate confrontation he knew that his 
place was at home with his wife. He ran to his car 
and with conscious, accurate reflexes started it and 
drove down the street. Ahead of him was a Volks- 
wagen and behind with their lights gleaming were 
three cars, except that George was really in a troika 
fleeing across a snowy Russian steppe. In front of 
him, bouncing along, was a rabbit. And behind 
him, yellow eyes gleaming with pursuit, were three 
wolves. Over and over the snow they sped, the 
rabbit, the troika, and the pursuing wolves, till 
suddenly the lights flashed red in front of him. 
Dutifully the rabbit stopped, George reined up his 
troika, and in ballet rhythm the three wolves, poised 
on their haunches, waited patiently. Then the light 

Fall 1961 00 253 

flashed green, and off they went again, the rabbit, 
the troika, and the straining wolves. George knew 
that distance had to be kept or there would be 
danger for the rabbit or danger from the wolves. 
When his street loomed up he automatically swung 
to the right, parked the car, ran to the house, 
buried his head in his wife's lap for the rest of the 
evening, which was the beginning of their next 

Meanwhile, my cosmic odyssey went on and on. 
One myth after another, lived out and traced back 
to the basic flash in the silent, impersonal, whirring 
of primal vibrations, beyond sense, beyond cell, 
beyond seed, beyond life. The latticework shuttling 
of energy patterns. All forms, all structure, man- 
made and organic, were seen clearly in their 
molecular and particle nature. All structure was an 
illusion. Every form was a momentary stage prop 
for the great theater of illusion, continually 

My previous psychedelic sessions with psilocybin 
had opened me up to the sensory levels of con- 
sciousness, pushed consciousness out to the mem- 
brane frontier, contact points of eyeball and light, 
ear canal and sound. Psilocybin had sucked me 
down into nerve nets, into the somatic organs, heart 
pulse, and air breath, had let me spiral down the 
DNA ladder of evolution to the beginning of life on 
this planet. But LSD was something different. Mi- 
chael's heaping spoonful had flipped consciousness 
out beyond life into the whirling dance of pure 
energy, where nothing existed except whirring vi- 
brations, and each illusory form was simply a 
different frequency. 

It was the most shattering experience of my life. I 
sat there, a part of Einstein's equation, seeing it all, 
terrified and confused, desperately looking for 
some structure which would last against the ruth- 
less bombardment of energy waves, and through it 
all, sitting with his head cradled in his knees, was 
the architect of enlightenment, the magician, who 
had flicked the switch to this alchemical show of 
revelation. Michael, the trickster. 

As I watched him, looking for an answer in his 
face, he changed. No longer the cool, cynical Bud- 

We felt it was one gamble 
worth taking, and perhaps 
the best contribution we 
could make toward the suc- 
cess of this fair. 

Michael Hollingshead 



Excelsior Scientific Trust 
40 East 84th Street 
New York, N.Y. 
28 Jan. 1964 

Dear Mr. Bloomfield: 

Many of the ideas ex- 
pressed by you in your re- 
cent letter to the chairman 
of the board of this organ- 
ization are directly to the 

But when you remark that 
the exogenous administra- 
tion of neurobiotics are 
likely to be only the begin- 
ning and not the end of 
our modern bedlam and 
that a normally insane in- 
dividual will be unable to 
find his most attentive audi- 
ence in mental institutions 
alone, you are trying to 
justify in theory the very in- 
teresting instinctive devel- 
opment of your own mind 
which, like Mondrian's "the 
painter," develops convinc- 
ingly into a close relation- 
ship with the white lines on 
a blueprint, moon-skulled, 
with a lung full of dust and 
a tongue of wood, knee- 
deep in the cold and 
swamped by flowers, not to 
mention the white China 
flying fish from Italy. 

254 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

Mister, your head is lousy 
with flowers, whose petals 
unlatch, tapping and tick- 
ing like nervous fingers or 
like yellow corsets ready to 

High time the red gerani- 
ums in the Toby jug gave 
up the ghost. 

You should have junked 
them before they died. 

Daybreak has discovered 
the office mail on my desk 
looking like a bureau lid 
littered with Chinese hands. 

Now I'm stared at by chrys- 
anthemums the size of 
shrunken heads, dipped in 
the same magenta as your 
red geranium eyeballs the 
color of blood pudding, 
blue black, a spectacular 

But what do you know 
about that? 

You are too wrapped up in 
your thoughts like a spool, 
trawling your dark seas as 
owls do, and nightly the 
snails blow kisses like black 
apples, leaping and sink- 
ing back into themselves, 
echoing in their shells to 
the least footfall, moving 
museums without fountains 
or statues. 

dha eye. I now saw him as the lost victim of the 
revelations he'd unleashed. As I studied him care- 
fully I could see scars on his face and hands and 
even threads of antennae sticking up from his skull. 
He shot a piteous, resigned look in my direction. 
He is the victim of some greater power, his con- 
sciousness has been captured, perhaps by intelli- 
gences from another planet. He is not a free agent. 
He knows what he's doing but he has no control 
over it. His turning us on is not an act of love and 
glorification but some sort of compulsion. He has to 
do it. He wants us to share the immobilization of 
his profound vision, to share his celestial dilemma. 
His cosmic loneliness. How can one act when one 
sees that all form is an illusory package of vibra- 
tions, just like your television screen? Nothing but 
beams of light while we comfort ourselves with 
childish explanations of philosophy and religion. 

The effects of the drug began to wear off by 
dawn. I was still higher than I had ever been 
before, but at least some structure was coming 
back. The flow of vibrations had stopped, and I felt 
myself freezing into a mold of plastic. There was a 
terrible sense of loss, of nostalgia, for the long 
hours, eons really, when one was at the heart of 
meaning and the radiant core of the energy process. 

I walked up to the Fergusons' room. They were 
sitting transfixed, feeling the same despair at their 
ejection from paradise. I knelt before Flo with my 
head in her lap, tears came down her eyes, and I 
found myself shaking with sobs. Why had we lost 
it? Why were we being reborn? In these silly 
leather bodies with these trivial little chessboard 
minds? For the rest of the morning I was in a daze, 
stunned by what had happened, trying to figure out 
what to do with these new revelations, how they 
make sense, what to do with life routines, which 
were obviously pointless, senseless, and completely 

After lunch I drove out to the prison. In the 
guardroom I met the warden, a genial, unimagina- 
tive man with a rubber face comically laboring 
under the illusion that there was some reality to this 
metal fun house, horror show, which we called a 
prison. I met with the twelve prisoners who were 

Fall 1961 00 255 

part of our rehabilitation project. They were full of 
enthusiasm and energy, planning for our next ses- 
sion. I was very quiet. The few things I said were 
spoken in a low, serene voice, and carefully selected 
so they would make sense to an amoeba, to a 
nuclear particle. My mood carried over to them, I 
knew. They were quiet, and peaceful when I left. 

I remember driving back to my office in Cam- 
bridge from the prison. I could still feel a strange 
electric noise in my brain and I was still struggling 
with that question, Why did I return? Why were 
the gates of paradise closed to me? Where had I 
lost the flow? Was it fear, or greed, or the result of 
past stupidities? And would I ever get the chance 
again to break through to that other illusion, and 
participate in the heart of the great vibration dance. 
Then I realized what I was doing. I was imposing 
the old mental game on the inexplicable mystery 
story of life. It all had to do with trust and ac- 

When I got to my office they told me later I was 
noticeably changed. Pearl, the jewel secretary, and 
the graduate students waiting for me were immedi- 
ately turned-on by what they called a solid serenity. 
It was impossible to say much. I listened, smiled. 
After a few minutes George Litwin walked in. It 
was the first time I had seen him since our sub- 
marine death scene in my kitchen. Our eyes met 
again in deep understanding. I took him by the arm 
and walked to a nearby conference room and 
closed the door. Neither one of us said a word for a 
long time. Well, what do we do now? Right, he 
said. That's all Tve been thinking about. Once you 
see how it's all composed, it is hard to go back to 
the game. Love too. Yes, love too. He stood looking 
out the window at the twilight. Let's go up to my 
place, have a drink, and look at the fire. He 

For the next few days, everyone on our research 
project was watching George and me with reverent 
concern. They could tell we had been beyond 
where we had ever been before. They were fasci- 
nated and frightened by what had happened to us. 
Dick Alpert in particular was concerned. He could 
sense that we had moved beyond the game of 

Nightly I flog sheep over 
their iron stile. 

And sheep don't sleep. 

I can't get them out of my 
mind; not the sheep, that 
is, but the bear-furred, bird- 
eating spiders clambering 
round their glass box like 
an eight-fingered hand, 
jumpy as a Mexican bean. 

Which is why I can't sleep 
and has no connection with 
anything but an irresistible 
inner source; and whether 
this may or may not be 
relevant to what you so 
freely and objectively wrote 
in your letter is beside the 

It would, however, be an 
incautious assumption that 
this is impossible. 

Yours cordially, 

LSD is not so much the 
dead-end drug that fell in 
love with beauty as a bright 
silk waistcoat that dazzles 
a real, if often absurd, 
world of human objects and 
behavior: The symbol of re- 
newal wears the apparatus 
of a crimson pourpoint that 
daunts the evasive honesty 
of those whose application 
to the humdrum is remark- 
able not so their inspira- 


256 00 The Drop-Out Drug 


Excelsior Scientific Trust 
40 East 84th Street 
New York, N.Y. 
Box Y8774 

Montreal Evening Angus 
Montreal, Canada. 
Dear advertiser; 

I'm really even afraid pri- 
vately to whisper your frag- 
ile public name, become 
the tease, the butt, the lisper 
of the old shame of seek- 
ing the partner in love 
game and sometimes for 
a second really live with 
magic's miracles. 

psychology, the game of trying to help people, and 
beyond the game of conventional love relationships. 
We were quietly and serenely aware of much too 

My relationship with Michael had undergone the 
greatest change. I treated him with an awed re- 
spect. There was still a big part of my conscious- 
ness which saw him as messenger from a divinity. 
How right and beautiful it was that God should 
send his messenger in the form of this eccentric, 
impatient, and mildly disreputable Michael. I got 
up early to take him to work and studied his every 
move for clues. Everytime I questioned him about 
the session he reacted with an evasive casualness, 
shoulder shrugs, raised eyebrows. That's the way it 
is, you know. With no more detailed explanations. 

It's not that I haven't got 
the nerve, and obviously 
not because I think there's 
any turpitude in sex or 

I think my only qualm at all 
is that you might regard 
my deeply-valleyed napes 
as small as grapes, ridicu- 
lously small. 

25 May 64 

LSD (to parody a famous 
Oscar Wilde saying about 
drink and the working 
classes) is the curse of the 
thinking classes. 



It has been five years since that first LSD trip 
with Michael Hollingshead. I have never forgotten 
it. Nor has it been possible for me to return to the 
life I was leading before that session. I have never 
recovered from that shattering ontological confron- 
tation. I have never been able to take myself, my 
mind, and the social world around me as seriously. 
Since that time five years ago I have been acutely 
aware of the fact that everything I perceive, every- 
thing within and around me is a creation of my own 

From that day in November 1961 until this 
moment, sitting in the sun at Millbrook, dictating 
these words, I have never quite lost the realization 
that I am an actor and that everyone and every- 
thing around me is stage prop and setting for the 
comic drama I am creating. LSD can be a pro- 
foundly asocial experience. Since that first session 
with Michael I was never able to commit myself to 
the game of Harvard or even to the game of 
rehabilitation. Not even to the game of proselytiz- 
ing for LSD itself. Nothing that doesn't ring true to 
my ancient cell wisdom and to that central vibrat- 
ing beam within can hold my attention for very 
long. From the date of this session it was inevitable 
that we would leave Harvard, that we would 
leave American society, and that we would spend 
the rest of our lives as mutants, faithfully following 

Fall 1961 00 257 

the instructions of our internal blueprints, and ten- 
derly, gently disregarding the parochial social in- 

There is a second aspect of this session from 
which I have never recovered. The mind manipula- 
tion paranoia. Before this LSD session with 
Michael, I had taken psilocybin over a hundred 
times. But in each case I was the one who was 
directing the session and giving out sacramental 
drugs. Michael was the first person to guide me and 
to propel me out beyond my mind. Ever since that 
day I have had a recurring science-fiction paranoia 
which comes up in almost every LSD session. It 
starts like this: suddenly, with a click, I am this 
new level of reality. I am suddenly on camera in a 
ancient television show directed and designed by 
some unknown intelligence. I'm the pathetic clown, 
the shallow, corny, twentieth-century American, the 
classic buffoon completely caught in a world of his 
own making, and not realizing that the goals and 
ambitions he strives for, the serious games he strug- 
gles with, are simply the comic relief, a brief clown 
act. And how patiently the supporting cast gets 
dragged around at the will of my mind. Those two 
wise creatures that have to play the roles of my 
children, the patient Olympians who dress them- 
selves day after day to play out the parts of friends 
in my drama. 


H. M. Prison 




26 May 1967 

My dear Timothy, 

Today marks my first an- 
niversary in prison, for it 
was one year ago exactly 
that I was sentenced. Of 
course I have seen many 
changes in this time, some 
for best, some for the 
worse, but all always wel- 
come. But perhaps the most 
interesting have been in 
the catering arrangements, 
which are always a source 
of difficulty in a closed 

Most prisons work on a self- 
service system. Now oddly 
enough, forward looking 
Leyhill prison may soon be 
the only one in the country 
where inmates are still 
waited on by servants. 

Nicholas: I like my experiments simple. 
Lily de Seitas: the days of simple experiments are 
over. (The Magus) 

But who's the sponsor of the show? What am I 
supposed to do? Who, in all the crowd of stereo- 
typed puppets that I command around me, is the 
director of the show? He would, of course, be the 
last person that I would think of, that Leo of the 
League, who is to lead me to a higher level of 
consciousness. Am I the only one who had not 
caught on, who has not broken through? The only 
one still thrashing around in egocentric isolation? 
And who is Michael with his half -bald head and his 
angelic gross face, pink-veined from alcohol, chain- 
smoking Camel cigarettes? 

A self-service system, pre- 
sided over by a grim, steel- 
helmeted prison officer in 
gym shoes, was tried for 
several years. But it was 
found that the biggest and 
toughest inmates invariably 
got all the food, amid 
scenes of brutish greed and 
violence hardly paralleled 
since Eolithic times. The 
prison officer was repeat- 
edly coshed and the con- 
tents of his pockets shared 
among the same natural in- 
mate leaders. 

258 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

After experiments with the 
tough system, with even 
worse results, a solution 
has now been found. The 
small remaining number of 
sexual offenders not re- 
quired as subjects for medi- 
cal experiments are now 
detailed to wait on the rul- 
ing caste of G.B.H. (griev- 
ous bodily harm) cases and 
Mafia chiefs, who after din- 
ner follow the custom of 
their ancestors by pelting 
them with bones. 

Fair slaves are enforced by 
a picked, strong-arm squad 
of prison officers with pa- 
troling dogs. The principal 
officers, according to im- 
memorial custom, still dine 
at the top table behind an 
electrified barbed wire 
fence. The system seems 
to work very well indeed. 

But is life truly 'hard' in 
prison? Do prisoners spend 
all their time scheming and 
planning to escape? Isn't 
prison something of an 
anachronism in our 20th 
century society? Let's look 
at some of the facts. The 
prisoner returning to so- 
ciety often finds life "a hec- 
tic, ill-mannered rat race," 
said a speaker recently at 
a conference of the Na- 
tional Association of Proba- 
tion Officers. "Is it any won- 
der that some people may 
appear to prefer the com- 
parative peace of prisons?" 

H. M. Prison 




19 April 1967 

My Dear Timothy, 

Very many thanks for your letter and manuscript 
which I was very glad indeed to get. 

Yes, of course, please make use of my name in 
your book Hollingshead or Shinkfield-Hollings- 
head, it is a matter of preference, though with the 
latter, some sales are assured in the North of Eng- 
land and in the Lothians. 

Your account of those early days fulfills perfectly 
so it seems to me the purpose of bringing out a 
history of the psychedelic movement. And to those 
of us fortunate enough to have taken part in this 
evolutionary process, this is the (almost) only 
consolation of which the spectrals of the world 
cannot deprive us. 

Turning to the manuscript, there were only a 
couple of matters of fact which need correcting. 
The first, on page 1, Professor G. E. Moore is 
associated with Cambridge, not Oxford. He was 84 
when he joined the Association for Cultural Ex- 
change Ltd., which he did as that organization's 
secretary, a duty he carried out, I must now add, 
by proxy. The second factual error is in the very 
last sentence . . . And who is Michael with his 
half-bald head and his angelic gross face, pink- 
veined from alcohol, chain-smoking Camel cigar- 
ettes? For my face really isn't pink-veined and the 
suggestion that it is, and is so moreover through a 
hinted over-indulgence in alcohol, does not quite fit 
the picture I have of myself from that time, though 
of course I did drink, and still do, but not in vein- 
reddening proportions. I cannot think of anything 
better than . . . with his half-bald head and his 
angelic gross face, sunlit and tranquil, inclining its 
axle slowly to the waning sea unrippled, far below: 
a face in which nothing replies, whose silences are 
one more meditation for the rose. 

That ends it on a suitable note of mystery, I 
think. I hope that is enough and that you didn't 

260 00 The Drop-Out Drug 

It is not. Who in his right 
mind would choose life 
outside, when he might be 
enjoying the soul-restoring 
calm, the rhythmic, reas- 
suring order of a well-run 

Here we are, with one or 
two chosen companions, 
chatting in some comfort- 
able cell; pottering about on 
the prison farm; catching 
up, with the cooperation of 
a nice bespectacled old li- 
brary "trustee," on books 
we never got round to read- 
ing; or listening to some 
decent third programme 
music on the headphones, 
with a mug of steaming 
cocoa at our elbow, just 
placed there by a kindly 
screw, intent, with the re- 
spectful familiarity of the 
best kind of old-fashioned 
servant, preserving our little 
world from all outside im- 

really want me to annotate all over the manuscript 
and send it back. I think it reads well, though it 
calls for perhaps a cool, hard look again and a 
reminder to yourself of the purpose in going into 
print at this early stage. For considerable finesse 
and great subtlety in the arrangement of your 
material is called for, and any attempt to ignore 
subtlety in favor of speed will so much lessen the 
real value a reader could derive from your analysis 
and thoughts. For you must write always as you 
are, which is a fine, sensible human being, able to 
recognize in others what is forward-looking, and 
help foster their creativity; a teacher of depth, most 
profound of all in modern times; a catalyst and a 
sustainer of those who followed your Way. Nothing 
less or it will trivialize your work. For mystery is 
the philosopher's night and water: like the earth 
herself, a daughter of truth, and marches about that 
unforgiving Sun, in wheeled abysses toward un- 
known light's embraces, until the dreamer ceases to 
murmur against stars or maker, go roving secret 
races and only the moon notices, that watcher of 
selves that shimmers on a pitcher of water, sieving 
the mystery of all our dark places, in a handful of 
faces; so many lost embraces in newly found high 
places. The loneliness of the human soul is unen- 
durable; nothing can penetrate it except the highest 
intensity of the sort of love that religious teachers 
have preached; whatever does not spring from this 
motive is harmful, or at best useless; it follows that 
in human relations one should penetrate to the core 
of loneliness in each person and speak to that. Until 
I met you I had taken little notice of that fact, but I 
listened willingly, and felt at home in your com- 
pany. From that day to this I have seen a little 
more than I am, and communication and wholeness 
are no longer out of reach, for I have never given 
up my essential urge for for want of a better 
word virtue; and many, many things have been 
learned from you. 

All my love to friends we hold dear. And I shall 
write you again just as soon as I have settled down 
to the routine of this place, which will not be too 
long. I found this recent week unsettling to my 
prison routine, or is it that I long so much for all 

Fall 1961 00 261 

that lightness of heart and foot that streams by 
these walls each day, this bad unhappy sort of 
monk. Yet I am realistic to know that when I do set 
on the Outside I will find the world is not trans- 
figured or laid bare, or pierced with singing voices 
. . . only the press of wings about the place. Once 
beyond these walls my heart will quicken and my 
tongue renew. 

My love, 

What stops more people 
from entering this world? 
The first step, perhaps? 

Love, Michael 



Supreme Success. 


Are Heaven and Hell Real? 

The Gentle, Wind 




Winter 1961 H 

Guide: ralph metzner 

Oracle: XX So 

Contemplation (View) !z; 




The Receptive, Earth W 


The wind blows over the earth: 
The image of contemplation. 
Thus the kings of old visited the regions of the 

Contemplated the people, 
And gave them instruction. 


TRIP 13 

From Innerspace: 

The Hungarian pharmacolo- 
gist, Stephen Szara first 
reported in 1957 that N,N- 
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) 
and N,N-Diethyltryptamine 
(DET) produced effects in 
man similar to LSD and 

The only difference was in 
duration: whereas LSD and 
mescaline typically last 
eight to ten hours, DMT 
lasted from forty minutes to 
one hour and DET from two 
to three hours. 

The higher homologues, 
dipropyltryptamine and di- 
butyltryptamine, were also 
said to be active but less 

The parent substance, tryp- 
tamine, by itself has no ef- 

Chemically, DMT is closely 
related to psilocybin and 
psilocin (4-hydroxy-N-di- 
methyltryptamine), as well 
as to bufotenine (5-hydroxy- 

During the first year of the Harvard Psychedelic 
Research Project, rumors circulated about a power- 
ful psychedelic chemical called dimethyltrypta- 
mine: DMT. The effect of this substance was sup- 
posed to last for less than an hour and to produce 
terrorizing effects. It was alleged to be the horror- 
show drug of the psychedelic family. 

William Burroughs had tried it in London and 
radioed back an urgent warning. Burroughs was 
working at that time on a theory of neurological 
geography certain cortical areas being heavenly, 
other areas being diabolical. Like an explorer mov- 
ing into a new continent, he believed it important 
to map out the friendly areas of the brain and the 
hostile. In Burroughs' pharmacological cartography, 
DMT propelled the voyager into strange and de- 
cidedly unfriendly territory. 

Burroughs told a gripping tale about a psychia- 
trist in London who had taken DMT with a friend. 
After a few minutes the frightened friend began 
requesting help. The psychiatrist, himself being 
spun through a universe of shuttling, vibratory 
pigments, reached for his hypodermic needle, 
which had been fragmented into a shimmering 
assemblage of wave mosaics, and bent over to 
administer an antidote. Much to his dismay, his 
friend, twisting in panic, was suddenly transformed 
into a writhing, wiggling reptile, jewel-encrusted 
and sparkling. The doctor's dilemma: where to 
make an intravenous injection in a squirming ori- 
ental-martian snake? 

Alan Watts had a DMT story to tell: he took the 
drug as part of a California research project and 
had planned to demonstrate that he could maintain 
rational control and verbal fluency during the ex- 
perience. The closest equivalent might be to at- 
tempt a moment-to-moment description of one's 

Winter 1961 00 265 

reactions while being fired out the muzzle of an 
atomic cannon with neo-byzantine barreling. Dr. 
Watts gave an awe-full description of perceptual 

In the fall of 1962, while giving a three-day series 
of lectures to the Southern California Society of 
Clinical Psychologists, Dick Alpert and I fell into 
discussion with a psychiatrist who was collecting 
data on DMT. He had given the drug to over a 
hundred subjects and only four had reported pleas- 
ant experiences. This was a challenge to the set- 
setting hypothesis. 

Can chemicals produce specific changes in con- 
sciousness? Was the molecular structure of DMT 
such that it automatically produced hell trips? Is 
there really a hell area of the nervous system? Or is 
it not the expectation and surroundings which make 
the experience hellish or heavenly? 

A basic theological issue is involved here. It's the 
ancient question that has divided philosophers for 
several thousand years. We become involved once 
again in the bitter debate that rent the academic 
calm of the Middle Ages. Realism or nominalism. 
The problem of universals. Do qualities really exist 
or are they just interpretations that the mind im- 
poses? Do redness, goodness, sharpness really exist? 
Does evil exist? Does the devil exist? Does 
psychosis exist? Is there an area of the brain in 
which hell is to be found? And one specific molec- 
ular key to this area? Or do we simply create these 
categories with our minds? Look through our 
mind's eye to find them and then proclaim the 
redundancy to be a fact, and then armed with the 
schoolmaster's rod teach the names and facts to our 
children, who then obediently discover and confirm 
the reality of our names and facts, and then armed 
with sword strike down or imprison those who 
doubt the reality of our names or facts? 

This most basic debate has raged in every culture 
and philosophy and religion. The hard-reality 
Brahmins and the soft-flowing Buddhas. The fixed 
dualists and the easy monists. Tertullian vs. Augus- 
tine. St. Jerome vs. Johannes Scotus Erigena. The 
certainty of Paul and the Divine Names of Diony- 
sius the Areopagite. The rigid theology of the Vati- 

The mechanism of action of 
DMT and related com- 
pounds is still a scientific 

Like LSD and psilocybin, 
DMT has the property of in- 
creasing the metabolic turn- 
over of serotonin in the 

An enzyme capable of con- 
verting naturally occurring 
tryptamine to DMT has re- 
cently been found in some 
mammalian tissue. 

This suggests that mecha- 
nisms may exist whereby 
the body converts normally 
occurring substances to 
psychedelic compounds. 

DMT has been identified as 
one of the ingredients in the 
seeds of mimosa hostilis 
from which the Pancaru In- 
dians of Pemambuco, Bra- 
zil, prepare an hallucino- 
genic beverage they call 
vinho de Jurumena. 


From "An Open Letter to 
Timothy Leary" by The Rt. 
Rev. Michael Francis Itkin: 

I have recently done a great 
deal of research and study 
on this matter, and I find 
that neither DMT or DET 
are truly psychedelics, nor 
for that matter even true 
hallucinogenic agents in the 
general usage of those 

266 00 Are Heaven and Hell Real? 

Rather, both DMT and DET 
are deliriants, i.e., the ef- 
fects they achieve are ob- 
tained by subjecting the 
body to a state of delirium 
similar to that which might 
accompany a fever of 105 

The degree wrought to the 
physical center is commen- 
surate with the physical 
conditions accompanying a 
105-degree fever. 

In addition, I am sure you 
have observed the tempo- 
rarily ruptured blood ves- 
sels in the eyes of those 
who have used DMT or DET 
with great frequency. 

Consider, then, what these 
same deliriants must do to 
the blood vessels through- 
out the intestinal tract, to 
the tissues of the liver, 
to the brain cells and, per- 
haps most clearly possible 
and defined, to the heart 
(particularly to the aorta). 

It is also, along with bufo- 
tenine, one of the ingredi- 
ents in the seeds of Pipta- 
denia peregrine, from which 
the Indians of Trinidad pre- 
pare an hallucinogenic 
snuff they call yopo. 


can vs. the Empty Godhood of Eckhart. The 
Islamic orthodoxy of Baghdad vs. the intoxicated 
pantheism of the Sufis. The legal finality of the 
Sanhedrin vs. Essene fervor. 

Here it comes again. The old ontological quarrel. 
Does a psychedelic drug produce any definite reac- 
tion, or is the experience created by the divine 
freedom of the experiencer? Are God and the Devil 
out there or within? Does LSD cause psychosis or 
multiple-orgasm? Does DMT trigger off a neurolog- 
ical horror show or new levels of satori? 

We had found little difference among psyche- 
delic drugs. As nominalists and ecstatics we were 
convinced that the elaborate clinical variations 
allegedly found in reactions to different drugs were 
psychedelic folktales. We were sticking to our null 
hypothesis that psychedelic drugs had no specific 
effect on consciousness, except to expand it, and 
that expectation, preparation, spiritual climate, and 
the emotional contract with the drug-giver, ac- 
counted for specific differences in reaction. Good 
trips or bad trips. 

We were eager to see if the fabled terror-drug, 
DMT, would fit the set-setting theory. 

A session was arranged. We came to the home of 
the psychiatrist accompanied by a Vedanta monk 
and two female friends. After a lengthy and 
friendly discussion with the physician, Dick Alpert 
lay down on a couch. His girl friend's head rested 
on his chest. I sat on the edge of the couch, smiling 
reassurance. Fifty mgs. of DMT were administered 

Within two minutes Dick Alpert's face was glow- 
ing with serene joy. For the next twenty-three 
minutes he gasped and murmured in pleasure, 
keeping up an amused and ecstatic account of his 

Exactly twenty-five minutes after administration, 
he smiled, sighed, sat up swinging his legs over the 
side of the couch and said, It lasted for a million 
years and for a split second. Now it's your turn. 

With this reassuring precedent, I took up posi- 
tion on the couch. Virginia sat on the floor holding 
my hand. Dick sat at the foot of the couch, radiat- 
ing benevolence. 

Winter 1961 00 267 

Five minutes after the injection, lying comfort- 
ably on the bed, I felt typical psychedelic onset 
symptoms a pleasant somatic looseness, a sensi- 
tive tuning-in to physical sensations. 

Eyes closed . . . typical LSD visions, the ex- 
quisite beauty of retinal and physical machinery, 
transcendence of mental activity, serene detach- 
ment. Comforting awareness of Virginia's hand 
and the presence of friends. 

Suddenly I opened my eyes and sat up. . . . 
The room was celestial, glowing with radiant illu- 
mination . . . light . . . light . . . light . . . 
the people present were transfigured . . . godlike 
creatures ... we were all united as one organism. 
Beneath the radiant surface I could see the deli- 
cate, wondrous body machinery of each person, the 
network of muscle and vein and bone exquisitely 
beautiful and all joined, all part of the same 

Our group was sharing a paradisial experience- 
each one in turn was to be given the key to eternity 
now it was my turn, I was experiencing this 
ecstasy for the group. Later the others would voy- 
age. We were members of a transcendent col- 

Dick Alpert coached me tenderly . . . handed 
me a mirror wherein I saw my face a stained-glass 

Virginia's face was that of all women wise, 
beautiful, eternal. Her eyes were all female eyes. 
She murmured exactly the right message. It can 
always be this way. 

The incredible complex-unity of the evolutionary 
process staggering, endless in its variety why? 
Where is it going? etc., etc. The old questions and 
then the laughter of the amused, ecstatic paradox. 
Too much! Too great! Never mind! It can't be 
figured out. Love it in gratitude and accept the 
mystery! I would lean forward to search for mean- 
ing in Virginia's china-flecked face and fall back 
on the pillow in reverent, awed laughter. 

Gradually, the brilliant illumination faded back 
to the three-D world and I sat up. Reborn. Re- 
newed. Radiant with affection and reverence. 

I had tripped to the highest point of LSD illu- 

Dick Alpert's Report: 

The faces in the room had 
become billion-faceted mo- 
saics of rich and vibrant 
hues. The facial character- 
istics of each of the ob- 
servers surrounding the 
bed, were the keys to their 
genetic heritage. 

Dr. X (the psychiatrist) was 
a bronzed American Indian 
with full ceremonial paint. 

The Hindu monk was a 
deep soulful middle-east- 
erner with eyes which were 
at once reflecting animal 
cunning and the sadness of 

Leary was a roguish Irish- 
man, a sea captain with 
weathered skin and creases 
at the corners of eyes 
which had looked long and 
hard into the unsee-able. 

Adventurous skipper of 
a three-masted schooner 
eager to chart new waters, 
to explore the continent 
just beyond. 

268 00 Are Heaven and Hell Real? 

Exuding a confidence that 
comes from a humorous 
cosmic awareness of his 
predicament genetic and 

And next to me, or rather 
on me, or rather in me, or 
rather more of me Billy. 

Her body was vibrating in 
such harmony with mine 
that each ripple of muscle, 
the very coursing of blood 
through her veins was a 
matter of absolute intimacy. 

Body messages of a 
subtlety and tenderness 
both exotically strange and 
deliciously familiar. 

Deep within, a point of heat 
in my groin, slowly, but 
powerfully and inevitably 
radiated throughout my 
body until every cell be- 
came a sun emanating its 
own life-giving fire. 

My body was an energy 
field, a set of vibrations 
with each cell, pulsing in 
phase with every other. 

And Billy, whose cells 
now danced the same tune, 
was no longer a discrete 
entity, but a resonating part 
of the single set of vibra- 
tions. The energy was love. 


mination a jewel-like satori. It was not cellular, not 
somatic, not sensory. It was a world of vibrations. 
No fear. Some moments of benign paranoia that I 
was the happy victim of some celestial plan for 

Immediately after my return the drug was ad- 
ministered to the Hindu monk. This dedicated man 
had spent fourteen years in meditation and renun- 
ciation. He was a sannyasin entitled to wear the 
sacred saffron robe. He had participated in several 
psychedelic drug sessions with extremely positive 
results and was convinced that the biochemical 
road to samadhi was not only valid but perhaps the 
most natural method for people living in a techno- 
logical civilization. 

His reaction to DMT was, however, confusing 
and unpleasant. Catapulted into a sudden ego-loss, 
he struggled to rationalize his experience in terms 
of classic Hindu techniques. He kept looking up at 
the group in puzzled helplessness. Suspicion. Re- 
proach. Defiance. Promptly at twenty-five minutes 
he sat up, laughed sheepishly, What a paranoid 
trip! I really got trapped. 

The lesson was clear. DMT, like the other psy- 
chedelic keys, could open an infinity of possibilities. 
Set, setting, suggestibility, temperamental back- 
ground were always there as filters through which 
the ecstatic experience could be distorted. 

Thus also in nature a holy seriousness is to be seen 
in the fact that natural occurrences are uniformly 
subject to law. Contemplation of the divine mean- 
ing underlying the workings of the universe gives to 
the man who is called upon to influence others the 
means of producing like effects. ( I Ching XX ) 

On return to Cambridge, arrangements were 
made with a drug company and with our medical 
consultant to run a systematic research on the new 
substance. During the subsequent months we ran 
over one hundred sessions at first training exer- 
cises for experienced researchers and then later 
trials with subjects completely inexperienced in 
psychedelic matters. 

The percentage of successful, ecstatic sessions 

Winter 1961 00 269 

ran high over 90 percent. The set-setting hypoth- 
esis clearly held for DMT in regard to positive 
experiences. But there were certain definite charac- 
teristics of the DMT experience which were mark- 
edly different from the standard psychedelics 
LSD, psilocybin, mescaline. First of all, the dura- 
tion. The eight-hour trip was reduced to around 
thirty minutes. The intensity was greater as well. 
This is to say, the shattering of learned-form-per- 
ception, the collapse of the learned structure was 
much more pronounced. 

Eyes closed produced a soft, silent, lightning- 
fast, whirling dance of incredible cellular forms- 
acre upon acre of softly spinning organic forms. A 
swirling, tumbling, soft rocket-ride through facto- 
ries of tissue. The variety and irreality of the precise, 
exquisite feathery clockwork organic machinery. 
Many LSD subjects report endless odysseys 
through the network of circulatory tunnels. But 
with DMT a sub-cellular cloud-ride into a world of 
ordered, moving beauty which defies external met- 

Eyes open produced a similar collapse of external 
objects. Faces and things no longer had form but 
were seen as a shimmering play of vibrations. Per- 
ception of solid structures was seen to be a function 
of visual nets, mosaics, cobwebs of light-energy. 

The transcendence of ego-space-time was most 
often noticed. Subjects frequently complained that 
they became so lost in the lovely flow of timeless 
existences that the experience ended too soon and 
was so smooth that landmarks were lacking to make 
memory very detailed. The usual milestones for 
perception and memory were lacking. There could 
be no memory of the sequence of visions because 
there was no time and no memory of structure 
because space was converted into flowing process. 

To deal with this problem we began to program 
sessions. The subject would be asked every two 
minutes to respond, or he would be presented with 
an agreed-upon stimulus every two minutes. The 
landmarks would, in this way, be provided by the 
experiment. The temporal sequence could be 
broken up into stages. 

One of the first programmed space shots with 

From "The Experiential 
Typewriter" by Timothy 
Leary, in the Psychedelic 

The communication prob- 
lem is like this. Suppose we 
put a subject in the front 
seat of a roller coaster and 
we sit next to him during 
the dizzy ride. 

As the car plummets down 
the first gasping descent 
we ask him, What do you 
see and feel? 

By the time we have said 
the second word the car 
has flashed down into the 
black descent and is 
screeching around a turn. 

As the car starts to pull up 
the next incline he says, 
What did you say? When we 
repeat the question he 
looks at us blankly. 

Well, it happened too fast. 
I just can't put into words. 
So the next time we pre- 
pare the subject. 

270 00 Are Heaven and Hell Real? 

We tell him that in the mid- 
dle of the hurtling ride 
downward we are going to 
ask him about what he sees 
and feels. It still won't 
work with words. 

As he rockets down the 
descent the most he can 
stutter is, Oooh. Lights . . . 
and. ... By this time he 
is around the dark bend 
and heading up. 

It's just too fast for words, 
is about the best you are 
going to get. Now the ac- 
tion of the cortex is per- 
haps a million times faster 
and more complex than re- 
actions to a roller coaster 

And that's why you should 
never ask a subject during 
an LSD session what he is 
experiencing. Now suppose 
we install a recording 
gadget on the roller coaster. 

Let's imagine twenty but- 
tons which the subject will 
push to record his reac- 
tions. One button is for 
fear and another for thrill 
and another for lights and 
another is for sick and an- 
other is for dizzy. 

DMT involved a three-person crew myself, Ralph 
Metzner, and his wise wife Susan. The instrument 
for radioing messages back was the experiential 
typewriter. This device is designed to allow non- 
verbal communication during psychedelic sessions. 
There are two keyboards with ten buttons for each 
hand. The twenty keys are connected to a twenty- 
pen polygraph which registers an ink mark on a 
flowing roll of paper each time a key is struck. 

The subject must learn the codes for the range of 
experience before the session and is trained to 
respond automatically, indicating the area of his 

In this trip it was agreed that I would be ques- 
tioned every two minutes, to indicate the content of 
my awareness. 

The session took place in a special room, eight-by- 
twenty, which was completely covered, ceiling, 
walls, and floor, by warm, colorful Indian prints. 
The session followed the alternating-guide model. 
Ralph and Susan were to act as interrogators for my 
session. Ralph was then to repeat the session with 
me as ground control. 

At 8: 10 p.m. I received 6o mgs. of DMT. 

Lay back on mattress, arranging cushions . . . 
relaxed and anticipatory . . . somewhat amused 
by our attempt to impose time-content mileposts on 
the flow of process . . . soft humming noise . . . 
eyes closed . . . suddenly, as if someone touched a 
button, the static darkness of retina is illuminated 
. . . enormous toy-jewel-clock factory, Santa Claus 
workshop . . . not impersonal or engineered, but 
jolly, comic, lighthearted. The dance of the body, 
humming with energy, billions of variegated forms 
spinning, clicking through their appointed rounds 
in the smooth ballet. . . . 


voice, stately, precise, scientific, kind . . . what? 
where? you? . . . open eyes . . . there squatting 
next to me are two magnificent insects . . . skin 
burnished, glowing metallic, with hammered jewels 
inlaid . . . richly costumed researchers, they 
looked at me sweetly . . . dear, radiant Venusian 
crickets . . . one has a pad in his lap and is hold- 
ing out a gem-encrusted box with undulating trape- 

272 00 Are Heaven and Hell Real? 

Then we train the subject 
for hours in the code sys- 
tem until he gets to that 
point of automatic pro- 
ficiency of the touch typist 
who can rattle off copy 
without thinking of what she 
is doing, banging out sev- 
enty words a minute while 
thinking about the dress 
she is going to wear to- 

Then we strap the subject's 
hands to the dials of the 
twenty-button recorder and 
send him down the roller- 
coaster ride. 

He can now give us per- 
haps twenty to a hundred 
codes a second which we 
pick up on a polygraph 
(i.e., a multi-pen recorder 
attached to the sending 

That's the experiential type- 
writer and that's how it's 
used and why such a device 
is necessary to record psy- 
chedelic experiences during 
the session. 

zoidal glowing sections . . . questioning look 
. . . incredible . . . and next to him Mrs. 
Diamond Cricket softly slides into a latticework of 
vibrations . . . Dr. Ruby-emerald Cricket smiles 

. . . TIM WHERE ARE YOU NOW. . . . Moves box 

towards me ... on yes .. . try to tell them . . . 
where. . . . Body ... I am swimming in tissue 
tidelands . . . body consciousness . . . use mind 
. . . explain . . . look down at undulating boxes 
. . . struggle to focus . . . use mind . . . yes 
. . . also . . . cognitive . . . there. . . . Eyes 
close . . . back to dancing workshop . . . joy 
. . . incredible beauty . . . the wonder, wonder, 
wonder . . . thanks . . . thanks for the chance to 
see the dance . . . infinity of life forms . . . 
funny exotic energy nets. . . . 


out in the tapestry of space comes the voice from 
down below . . . dear kindly earth-voice . . . 
earth-station calling . . . where are you? . . . 
what a joke . . . how to answer ... I am in the 
bubbling beaker of the cosmic alchemist ... no, 
no softly falling star dust exploding in the branches 
of the stellar ivory birch tree . . . what? Open 
eyes ... oh dear lapidary insect friends . . . 
Ralph and Susan beautiful orange lobsters watch- 
ing me gently . . . faces shattered into stained- 
glass mosaic ... Dr. Tiffany Lobster holds out the 
casket of trapezoidal sections . . . look at glowing 
key . . . where is Venusian ecstasy key? . . . 
where is key for the stellar explosion of the year 
3000? cellular genetic . . . yes ... hit the 
key . . . tumble back to Perosopic pulse. 

How nice . . . they are down there . . . wait- 
ing ... no words up here to describe . . . they 
have words down there . . . see rolling waves of 
colored forms whirling up, bouncing jolly . . . 
where do they come from . . . who is architect 
. . . it's all worked out . . . it's all on auto-pilot 
. . . my body begins to disintegrate . . . flow out 
into the river of evolution . . . good-bye . . . 
gone star space in orgasm pulses of particle motion 
. . . release . . . flashing light, light, light. . . . 

minute 6. Tim, where are you now? Earth voice 
calling . . . you there, meson hurtling in nuclear 

Winter 1961 00 273 

orbit . . . incorporate . . . trap the streaking 
energy particle . . . slow down . . . freeze into 
body structure . . . return . . . with flick of open 
eye the nuclear dance suddenly skids into static 
form . . . see two clusters of electrons shimmer- 
ing . . . the energy dance caught momentarily in 
friendly robot form . . . hello . . . next to them a 
candle flame . . . center of million-armed web of 
light beams . . . the room is caught in a lattice of 
light-energy . . . shimmering. . . . finger taps mo- 
lecular . . . molecular ... Ah yes . . . 


Eyes closed but after-image of candle flame re- 
mains . . . eyeballs trapped in orbit around in- 
ternal light center . . . celestial radiance from the 
light center . . . light of sun ... all light is sun 
. . . light is life . . . live, luce, life ... all life is 
frail filament of light . . . solar silent sound . . . 
sun-flare . . . light-life. . . . 


heart of the sun's hydrogen explosion . . . our 
globe is light's globe . . . open eyes drape curtain 
over sun flare . . . open eyes bring blindness . . . 
shut off internal radiance . . . see chiaroscuro 
God holding shadow box . . . where is life? . . . 
press molecular. . . . 

Keep eyes open . . . fixed caught . . . hypno- 
tized . . . whole room, flowered walls, cushions, 
candle, human forms all vibrating ... all waves 
having no form . . . terrible stillness . . . just 
silent energy flow ... if you move you will shatter 
the pattern ... all remembered forms, meanings, 
identities meaningless . . . gone . . . pitiless 
emanation of physical waves . . . television im- 
pulses crackling across an interstellar grid ... our 
sun one point on astrophysical television screen 
. . . our galaxy tiny cluster of points on one corner 
of TV screen . . . the ten-billion-year cycle of our 
universe is a milli-second flash of light on the 
cosmic screen flowing endlessly with images. . . . 


tower beaming up navigational query . . . flood of 
amazed love that we can contact each other . . . 
we do remain in contact . . . where was that clus- 
ter then . . . hallucinating . . . science-fiction 

Dr. Metzner's report of 
Leary's DMT trip: 

At two minutes the subject 
was smiling with eyes 

When asked to report he 
opened his eyes, looked at 
the observers curiously, 

When the orientation ques- 
tion was repeated he 

Moved his finger search- 
ingly over the typewriter. 

And with a look of amused 
tolerance stabbed at the 

He then fell back with 
sigh and closed his eyes. 

274 00 Are Heaven and Hell Real? 

At four minutes the subject 
was still smiling with eyes 

When asked to report, he 
opened his eyes and 
laughed. . . . 

He looked at the observers 
with a smile . . . studied the 
keyboard of the typewriter, 
and pressed the CELLULAR- 

He then fell back and 
closed his eyes. 

At six minutes the subject 
had just finished frowning 
in what seemed like a pass- 
ing fear or problem. 

metaphors . . . where is the key . . . there . . . 


molecules . . . merging hallucinations. 

My mind returns . . . labeling . . . diagnosing 
the endless flow . . . loss of space-time . . . 
merging with energy flux . . . seeing all life forms 
as physical waves . . . loss of body . . . existence 
as energy . . . awareness that our bodies are mo- 
mentary clusters of energy and that we are capable 
of tuning in on patterns . . . the certainty that life 
processes are on "auto-pilot" . . . there is nothing 
to fear or worry about . . . sudden understanding 
of the meaning of terms from Indian philosophy 
such as maya, maha-maya, lila . . . insight into the 
nature and varieties of transcendent states . . . the 
void-white-light-contentless, inorganic ecstasy . . . 
the fcwnc^mi-life-force-biological-squirming-moist- 
sexual organic ecstasy . . . the singing-genetic- 
code-blueprint-temporary-structuring-of-form ec- 
stasy and the . . . 


eyes . . . laugh . . . caught by vigilant ground- 
tower while orbiting around earthly-mind-figure-it- 
out area . . . where is key for thinking game . . . 

. . . MOLECULES. . . . 

Above head is lightbulb covered with scalloped 
light-blue shade . . . circling up to the glowing 
shade are ribbons of waves . . . silent . . . 
beckoning . . . inviting . . . join the dance . . . 
leave your robot ... a whole universe of delight- 
ful, aerial choreography awaits . . . yes join 
them . . . suddenly, like smoke rising from a ciga- 
rette, consciousness circled up . . . swooping 
graceful gull-paths up to light source and, sound- 
less, through into another dimension . . . billions- 
of-protein-file-cards, helical in shape, flicking 
through, confronting me with endless library of 
events, forms, visual perceptions, memories, not 
abstract but pulsing . . . now . . . experiential 
... a billion years of coded experience, classified, 
preserved in brilliant, living clarity that makes ordi- 
nary reality seem like an out-of-focus, tattered, 
jerky, fluttering of peep-show cards, tawdry and 
worn. . . . 

276 00 Are Heaven and Hell Real? 

When contacted to report, 
he glanced around the 
room and without hesitation 

pressed the MOLECULAR 
nal) key. 

He then closed his eyes. 

At eight minutes the sub- 
ject, who had been lying 
motionless against the 
cushions . . . 

. . . opened his eyes. 

His expression was dazed, 

Without expression he 
pressed the key for MOLEC- 

From eight to ten minutes 
the subject sat motion- 
less . . . 

. . . eyes open in a trance- 
like state. 


are we? ... oh listen, here's where we are . . . 
once there was a glowing electric dot, a flash re- 
flected from the heart of a cut diamond which, oh 
there, now, caught the light of sun flame and 
glittered . . . sudden flash in Precambrian mud 
. . . the dot stirs and quivers with tremble-strain- 
exultant-singing-throbbing-shuddering twist up- 
wards and a serpent began to writhe up and through 
the soft, warm silt . . . tiny, the size of a virus . . . 
growing . . . the enormous length of a microscopic 
bacillus . . . flowing exultantly, always singing the 
Hindu flute-song . . . always bursting out, enfoli- 
ating . . . now the size of the moss root, churning 
through fibered-cunt-mattress-moist-spasm churn- 
ing . . . growing . . . exfoliating its own vision 
. . . always blind except for the forward point of 
light-eye . . . now belts of serpent skin, mosaic- 
jeweled, rhythmically jerking, snakewise forward 
. . . now the size of a tree-trunk, gnarled and 
horny with the sperm-sap moving within . . . now 
swelling, tumescent into Mississippi flood of tissue 
writhing . . . pink, silt current of singing-fire . . . 
now circling globe, squeezing green salt oceans 
and jagged brownshale mountains with constrictor 
grasp . . . flowing blindly, now a billion-mile end- 
less electric-cord vertebrated writhing cobra singing 
Hindu flute-song . . . penis head throbbing!! ... 
blind, except for the one second each cell in the 
advancing parade is permitted that one moment 
face-to-face, eyeball to solar flame insight into the 
past-future. . . . 

TiM, tim, where are you now? La Guardia 
tower repeats request for contact with the ship lost 
out of radar scope . . . where? ... I am eye of 
the great snake ... a fold of serpent skin, radiat- 
ing trapezoidal inquiry swims into focus . . . reg- 
ister conscious content . . . where are you? . . . 
here . . . internal hallucinations, cellular- 
genetic MEMORIES. . . . 

The session continued with two-minute interrup- 
tions until the twentieth minute in the same pat- 
tern. Timeless flights into hallucinatory or pure 
energy vibration fields with sudden contractions to 
reality in response to the observer questions. 

Winter 1961 00 277 

This session suggested some solutions to the 
problem of communicating during psychedelic ex- 
periences. The person "up there" is being whirled 
through experiences which spin by so rapidly and 
contain structural content so different from our 
familiar macroscopic forms that he cannot possibly 
describe where he is or what he is experiencing. 

Consider the analogy to the pilot of a plane who 
has lost his bearings and who contacts La Guardia 
tower by radio. The pilot is experiencing many 
events he can describe the cloud formations, 
lightning flashes, the etching of ice on the plane 
window but none of this makes any sense to the 
tower technicians who are attempting to plot his 
course in the three-dimensional language of naviga- 
tion. The person "up there" cannot provide the 
categories. The ground control personnel must 
radio them "up." Cessna 64 Bravo, our radar scopes 
show you are fifteen miles southwest of Interna- 
tional Airport. The red glow you see is the reflec- 
tion of Manhattan. To head on a course for Boston 
you must change your course to 57 degrees and 
maintain an altitude of 5500. 

But the language of psychology is not sophisti- 
cated enough to provide such parameters. Nor are 
there experiential compasses to determine direc- 

What we can do at this point is to set up "flight 
plans." The subject can work out, before the ses- 
sion, the areas of experience he wishes to contact; 
and he can plan the temporal sequence of his 
visionary voyage. He will not be able during the 
flight to tell "ground control" where he is, but 
ground control can contact him and tell him where 
to proceed. Thus, during this session when Ralph 
asked where are you now? I could not respond. I 
had to descend, slow up the flow of experience, 
and then tell him where I had been or where I 
ended up. 

When the contact question came I would be 
hurtling through other galaxies. In order to re- 
spond, I had to stop my free rocketing, tumbling 
flight, return near the earth and say, I am over New 

The session was a continual series of come- 

There was no attempt to 

When contacted he moved 
slowly but surely and 
pressed the TRIPLE EX- 

From the tenth to twelfth 
minute the subject sat look- 
ing blankly and without 
motion at the wall of the 

When contacted he smiled. 

And pressed the DOUBLE 

From minute twelve to four- 
teen the subject sat silent 
with eyes closed. 

When contacted he failed to 
respond and after thirty 
seconds was contacted 

278 00 Are Heaven and Hell Real? 

He then pressed INTERNAL 

This session suggests that 
a more efficient way to 
chart psychedelic experi- 
ences would be to: 

1) Memorize the keyboard 
of the experiential type- 
writer so that communica- 
tion down to ground con- 
trol could be automatic. 

2) Plan the flight in such 
a way that the ground con- 
trol would not ask unan- 
swerable questions Where 
am I indeed! but would 
tell the subject where to go. 

Then the communication 
task of the voyager would 
be to indicate if he were on 
course . . . 

. . . i.e., that he was or was 
not following the flight in- 
structions radioed up by 
ground control. 

Ground control should send 
up stimuli. 

Suggestivity is wide open. 
La Guardia tower directs 
the flight. 

downs. I repeatedly had to stop the flow in order to 
respond. My cortex was receiving hundreds of 
thousands of impulses a second; but in order to 
respond to ground control's questions I had to 
grind the ship to a slow stall to say, I was there, I 
am here, but now that has moved too. 

The Heisenberg principle. 

Psychedelic research is experimental philosophy, 
empirical metaphysics, visionary science. 

Psychedelic drugs offer new perspectives on 
every aspect of human thinking, human behavior, 
human searching. There is no issue in psychology, 
physics, biology, and theology which cannot make 
use of these microscopes of consciousness. The 
discovery of LSD is as important to philosophy and 
psychology and religion as the discovery of the 
microscope was to biology. 

Psychedelic drugs allow us to study directly, 
experientially, empirically the problems which 
have perplexed philosophers for millennia. Indeed, 
the psychedelic drugs force you, like it or not, 
prepared or not, to become a philosopher. You are 
flung bodily into convulsive, terrorized contact with 
such ancient problems as: What is real? What is 
true? What is good? What is beautiful? 

Since i960 our psychedelic explorations have 
forced us, agonizingly at times, to deal with these 
crucial questions. 

We came to the exhausting conclusion that each 
person must work out all the answers himself. Each 
person must be his own Moses, his own Augustine, 
his own Buddha, his own Aquinas, his own Darwin, 
his own Einstein. You have to experience their 
confusion, their groping ignorance; you have to 
work out their exultant answers. You must do it 
yourself in the swirling crucible of the out-of-the- 
mind session after you discover to your terror that 
the answers you thought you had were canned 
chessboard symbols. 

In our DMT experiments we dealt empirically 
with the issue of universals and names. God-Devil, 
heaven-hell, good-bad, ugly-beauty. Our answer: 
nothing exists except undulating energy and flow- 
ing consciousness upon which the grasping mind 
imposes categories. The categories have nothing to 

Winter 1961 00 279 

do with the energy-flow. Any temporary energy 
constellation can be divine, diabolic, beautiful, de- 
pending on your symbolic interpretation. 

. . . Liberated from his ego, he contemplates the 
laws of life and so realizes that knowing how to 
become free of blame is the highest good. ( I Ching ) 

But the symbols, the names are real too. It is 
possible and indeed necessary to create symbols for 
mapping and guiding. The symbols apply only for 
the space-time dimension we arbitrarily and con- 
sciously impose. 

You and I can agree on names for certain game 
sequences and we can communicate accurately 
within the game context. We'll call this first base 
and that New Haven. We can develop maps and 
guidebooks for different levels of consciousness, 
knowing that the names are artifacts, that the map 
is not the territory. 

The psychedelic experience is indescribable, in- 
effable, but so is every other experience. We can 
build a language to get you to Yankee Stadium at 3 
p.m. on a summer Sunday afternoon and teach you 
how to score the game. We can build a language to 
get you out of your twentieth-century mind and 
spin you back into eerie LSD landscapes and teach 
you how to score the game. Neither scorecard 
comes close to matching the intricate energy ex- 
changes involved in the trip to the ballpark or the 
trip to your inner galaxies, but the goal and chal- 
lenge of being a human being is to visit more and 
more distant ballparks and to build more accurate 

Approximately how much 
of the session (in 10 per- 
cent of time) was spent in 
each of the following areas? 

A) Interpersonal games, 10 
percent (fondness for ob- 

B) Exploring to discover 
self, or self games, per- 

C) Other games (social, in- 
tellectual, religious), 70 per- 
cent (intellectual, struggling 
with problems of communi- 

D) Non-game transcen- 
dence, 20 percent (contin- 
ually interrupted by ques- 


contemplation. The ablution has 

been made, 
But not yet the offering. 
Full of trust they look up to him. 

(I Ching) 


When Will You Be Ready to Admit H 
You Are a Divine Messenger? pq 






Spring 1962 g 

Guide: sakti, divine nun ^ 

Oracle: XXII q 


Grace d 




Keeping Still, Mountain 

The Clinging, Fire 

Fire at the foot of the mountain: 
The image of grace. 
Thus does the superior man proceed 
When clearing up current affairs. 
But he dare not decide controversial issues in 
this way. 


TRIP 14 

From Time: 

In every age, men have 
struggled to perceive God 
directly rather than as a 
tenuously grasped abstrac- 
tion. Few succeed, and the 
visions of the world's rare 
mystics have normally come 
only after hard" spiritual 
work prayer, meditation, 
ascetic practice. 

At the time I ate the sacred mushrooms of Mexico I 
called myself as follows: an atheist, a rationalist, 
skeptical of any sort of authority, ritual, tradition, 
faith, or magic, an empiricist intolerant of scholas- 
tic speculation and Talmudic juggling. An arrogant 
disdainer of fear-directed bourgeois conformity. I 
was convinced that the choice was to be indepen- 
dent-effective-right or obedient-routine-good, but 
not both. 

Now a number of psycholo- 
gists and theologians are 
exploring such hallucino- 
genic drugs as mescaline, 
psilocybin and LSD-25 as 
an easy way to instant mys- 

In large enough doses these 
drugs can simulate the ef- 
fects of certain forms of 
psychosis to the point, in 
some cases, of permanent 

In controlled, minute doses 
the drugs produce weird 
and wonderful fantasies of 
sight and feeling; in 
Greenwich Village and on 
college campuses, they 
seem to be replacing mari- 
juana as the hip way to get 

The high-school principal looked at me calmly. 
You have consistently ignored the principles upon 
which this school is based. The Kantian Categorical 
Imperative. No one has a right to do that which if 
everyone did would destroy society. I was the 
editor of the high-school paper which had just won 
the interstate prize for excellence, but I cut classes 
and skipped school. The principal slowly turned a 
fountain pen in his hand. There was a month until 
graduation. He was thinking about the administra- 
tive trouble involved in expelling me. He was get- 
ting close to retirement a wise old New Englander. 
He put the pen down. His eyes were on his blotter. 
He wouldn't look at me. I never want to see you or 
talk to you again. Just stay away from me and my 

No cadet was allowed to sit next to me in the 
West Point mess hall, and I was required to request 
food by writing on a pad . . . which I never did. 
The cadet adjutant had climbed up to the observa- 
tion shelf from where he bellowed out his cry of 
"attention." The clatter of dishes and babble of 
conversation ceased. Two thousand gray-coated 
cadets sat silently. Headquarters, United States 
Military Academy, West Point, New York, August 
18, 1941. In the case of Cadet Timothy Leary, 
second class, the Honor Committee of the Cadet 


Spring 1962 00 283 

Corps agrees to accept the verdict of the Court 
Martial. Not guilty. At ease. 

The silence hung over the huge hall, larger than 
three football fields, and then hushed conversations 
began. That afternoon I packed my gear in a jeep 
and drove to the railroad station down by the 
Hudson under the granite fortress cliffs. First class- 
men who knew and sympathized and some plebes 
who didn't know but sympathized came up to 
shake my hand (most of them, by habit, still main- 
taining the silence), and a colonel attached to the 
superintendent's office stopped, flagged the jeep 
down, and came over silently and shook my hand. 

It took a moment for the Jesuit Dean of Students 
to understand my refusal of his offer to return to 
Holy Cross. Then his face flushed with red. I had 
never seen him angry before. He was jolly, cocky, 
friend-of-the-students professor and wore his hard 
square black hat jauntily over his left eye. He 
turned quickly, black robe swirling, and stomped 

Social systems larger than the clan are based on 
irrational and unnecessary fear and that's why they 
can't tolerate detached action no matter how 

At the time I ate the sacred mushrooms in 
Mexico I was a rational humanist. Supremely confi- 
dent but empty because, although I could predict 
and master the game, I had lost the thread of 

I had run through and beyond the middle-class 
professional game board. There were no surprise 
moves left. I had died even to the lure of ambition, 
power, sex. It was all a Monopoly game easy to 
win at but meaningless. I had just been promised 
tenure at Harvard. 

Five hours after eating the mushrooms it was all 
changed. The revelation had come. The veil had 
been pulled back. The classic vision. The fullblown 
conversion experience. The prophetic call. The 
works. God had spoken. 

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up 
his voice, and said unto them . . . hearken to my 

Some investigators who 
have tried the drugs claim 
to have undergone a pro- 
found spiritual experience, 
and these men are seri- 
ously, if gingerly, studying 
the undefined relationship 
between drug-induced vi- 
sions and the classic forms 
of mystical ecstasy. 

"The void was lit up." For 
at least 3,000 years, primi- 
tive tribes have had vision- 
ary orgies at feasts of cer- 
tain sacred plants, often 

The use of the peyote cac- 
tus, from which mescaline 
is derived, is a regular part 
of the communion services 
of the native American 
church, composed of 200,- 
000 U.S. Indians. 

Novelist Aldous Huxley 
wrote in the Doors of Per- 
ception that mescaline pro- 
duced in him an effect that 
seemed like seeing the 
beatific vision. 

Psychologist Timothy Leary, 
who was dropped from Har- 
vard faculty last spring after 
receiving strong criticism 
for his freewheeling re- 
search in the use of LSD 
and psilocybin, gave the 
drugs to sixty-nine full- 
time religious professionals, 
found that three out of four 
had intense mystico-reli- 
gious reactions, and more 
than half claimed that they 
had the deepest spiritual 
experience of their life. 

284 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

Such spiritual experiences 
range from heavenly to 
hideous: a number of sub- 
jects suffer through ago- 
nizing intimations of hell 
rather than of paradise. 

words: For this is that which was spoken by the 
prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last 
days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all 
flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall 
prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and 
your old men shall dream dreams. . . . 

Most instant mystics feel 
that they have been reborn, 
and have suddenly been 
given the key to existence, 
although their intuition usu- 
ally appears in the form of 
an incommunicable plati- 
tude, such as, oneness is 

California prison psycholo- 
gist Wilson Van Dusen, for 
example, imagined himself 
in a black void in which 
"God was walking on me 
and I cried for joy. 

"My own voice seemed to 
speak of His coming. But 
I didn't believe it. Suddenly 
and unexpectedly the zenith 
of the void was lit up with 
the blinding presence of 
the One. 

"How did I know it? All I 
can say is that there was no 
possibility of doubt." 

Union with God. This kind 
of experience seems to be 
at least subjectively reli- 
gious; but there are less 
convincing cases in which 
drug takers appear to have 
read religion into their vi- 
sions or rigged the setting 
to induce a spiritual ex- 

It was for me the authentic Moses, Mohammed, 
Blake, Boehme, Shankara, St. John of the Cross, 
trip. Now, mind you, I'm not comparing myself to 
these great eloquent, effective, popular newscasters 
from the central broadcasting station. Millions of 
unknown, incoherent, ineffective persons have 
stumbled on the billion-year-old ticker tape and got 
the message and have been unable to tune it back 
to society. But believe this the message is the 
same, in spite of the transmitter, and I got the 
message by a swimming pool in Cuernavaca in 
August i960. 

Then what? 

If I had been a believing psychologist, the temp- 
tation would be to rush back to the tribe and use 
the revelation in the psychology game get re- 
search grants, write scientific articles, become 
famous. A new Freud. So simple and so what. 

If I had been a painter, I would have started 
etching out the visions and gained renown and 
money as a new Salvador Dali. 

If I had been a businessman, the reflex reaction 
to the mushroom vision would be commercial. Busi- 
ness is the religion of America and the best way to 
have introduced psychedelic sacraments into the 
culture would have been to market them. 

I recall the first businessman that we ever turned- 
on. He was a friend of a psychiatrist who brought 
him over one Sunday for a session. After a couple 
of hours he swam up to me with that ecstatic, all- 
seeing gleam in his eye. Magnificent! I see it all! 
Incredible! Look, Leary, you've got to get me a 
million doses of this! 

I smiled. This was the usual reaction. The physi- 
cists wanted a million doses to solve the non-exis- 
tent problem of space-time. The artists, to make the 
world beautiful. 

What would you do with a million doses? 

Spring 1962 00 285 

The merchant looked at me with disdain. Why, 
it's obvious. This is worth a hundred dollars a dose. 
A million doses is a hundred million bucks! 

If it weren't for my scholars prejudice against 
commerce, we might have added small amounts of 
psilocybin to ginger-ale and quinine-water bottles 
and sold it as a new form of cocktail. One bottle 
would have been the equivalent of a joint of mari- 
juana. Ten bottles would produce a visionary voy- 
age. Psilocybin at that time was considered a mild, 
safe form of mushroom juice, and who would have 
objected to its sale in health stores? What would be 
more American than non-alcoholic ecstasy cocktails 
sold for a profit? 

The most typical thing to do after your revelation 
is to announce it to everyone. Rush back and tell 

Listen! Wake up! You are God! You have the 
Divine plan engraved in cellular script within you. 
Listen! Take this sacrament! You'll see! You'll get 
the revelation! It will change your life! You'll be 

I started doing this the day after my conversion. 
I rushed over to Tepoztlan to tell the MeClellands. 
Mary McClelland is a Quaker mystic and she 
listened with interest and sympathy. David Mc- 
Clelland is a Presbyterian convert to Quakerism. 
His shock and horror was unmistakable. If I had 
described the pleasure of heroin or sexual seduction 
of minors, he couldn't have shown more reflex 

I found myself getting poetic and dogmatic. I 
know it is a real reality! I know it is the Divine 
message! David McClelland now looked alarmed. 
Clinical diagnostic glances. Wow! Do I have a nut 
on my hands here? He was my boss at Harvard. 

I shut up and made a joke about Celtic enthu- 
siasm and we talked about department politics. 

I was faced with the ancient dilemma of the 
visionary to whom God has spoken. 

After his illumination the Buddha sat for forty- 
nine days and nights wondering if he should go 
back and tune-in the message. He knew the Hindu 
priesthood would be angry. 

Mohammed got into all sorts of administrative 

One professor at Protes- 
tant divinity school recalls 
that he was handed a rose 
to contemplate after taking 
his dose of LSD. 

As I looked at the rose it 
began to glow, he said, and 
suddenly I felt that I under- 
stood the rose. 

A few days later when I 
reread the biblical account 
of Moses and the burning 
bush it suddenly made 
sense to me. 

Perhaps the best-known de- 
liberate effort to create 
religious experience with 
drugs was a special ser- 
vice in the basement chapel 
beneath Boston University's 
non-denominational Marsh 
Chapel on Good Friday last 

Organ music was piped into 
the dimly lit chapel for a 
group of twenty subjects, 
half of whom were given 
LSD while the rest took 

A minister gave a brief ser- 
mon, and the students were 
left alone to meditate. Dur- 
ing the next three hours, all 
except one of the LSD 
takers (but only one of 
those who took placebos) 
reported a genuine religious 

286 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

I felt a deep union with God, 
reports one participant. I 
remember feeling a pro- 
found sense of sorrow that 
there was no priest or min- 
ister at the altar. 

I had a tremendous urge 
to go up on the altar and 
minister the services. 

But I had this sense of un- 
worthiness, and I crawled 
under the pews and tried to 
get away. 

Finally I carried my Bible 
to the altar and then tried 
to preach. 

The only words I mumbled 
were peace peace. I felt 
I was communicating be- 
yond words. 

Most churchmen are duly 
skeptical about equating an 
afternoon on LSD with the 
intuitions of a St. John of 
the Cross or a Martin 

R. C. Zaehner of Oxford, a 
Roman Catholic and an ex- 
pert on Eastern religions, 
holds that the drug-ingested 
visions are simply one of 
many kinds of preternatural 
experience, and are qualita- 
tively different from the ec- 
stasies granted mystics. 

trouble. After three years only thirteen persons- 
slaves, no-accounts, and women listened to him. 

Boehme, Eckhart, and Luther, and George Fox, 
spoke about it and the wrath of the establishment 
came down on them. Even Moses had his problems. 

When are you ready to take the message seri- 
ously enough to announce it? 

This is it! Thou art the man! I am He! You are He! 

Don't be deceived by the bureaucratic church. 
Don't think you can escape it. The revelation comes 
to everyman in his lifetime. You can close your eyes 
and try to ignore it. But it will come to you. Every 
man is the chosen man. Had you forgotten? 

But when are you ready to accept it? And how 
will you announce it? 

For an American in i960 a.d. there was little 
vocational preparation for the prophetic role. There 
was no college-major for prophecy least of all in 
the divinity schools. The steps to secular success 
were spelled out in every college catalogue but not 
for that only important profession the discovery of 
your divinity. 

There was no listing in the yellow pages of the 
phone book for visionary messiah. 

The entire weight of American education is engi- 
neered to crush the religious impulse. Other times 
have been easier. Luther was a brilliant priest in a 
God-obsessed society. The Buddha had pursued a 
grueling yoga for several years before his flash. I 
was unprepared for the message. It would take me 
six years to accept the call. 

I was trained as a psychologist. Psychology is a 
particularly vulgar, profane profession. It took Carl 
Jung a lifetime to kick the psychology habit and 
locate his center within. T. G. Fechner, the founder 
of scientific psychology, lay tormented on a bed, 
blind, incoherent, for more than a year before he 
tore off the blindfold and spoke the word. All is 
consciousness and consciousness is one. 

I did not wander barefoot forth from Mexico 
preaching the word. I flew back to Harvard Univer- 
sity and started a research project. The strategy 
was to provide religious experiences and then scien- 
tifically measure the overt benefit. 

Make them feel right and they'll do right. 

Spring 1962 00 287 

Make them feel good and they'll do good. 

I didn't mention the religious revelation part. Just 
the public good, the behavior change that would 

The dull would become creative. The neurotic 
would become whole. The criminal would reform 
his evil ways. Through questionnaire and objective 
personality tests and statistical analysis we would 
prove "scientifically" that God exists in man and 
that this power miracles doth perform. 

Of course everyone intuitively saw through the 
scheme and resisted it everyone, that is, who 
didn't turn-on. The self-appointed scientists and the 
academics were skeptical and irritated. They 
sensed what I was up to and knew that my cha- 
risma and enthusiasm could make it work. 

The psychedelic sages also murmured against the 
research plan. It was too public, too superficial, too 

The psychedelic underground. The handful of 
Americans who knew where it was at most of 
them long-time students of oriental philosophy and 
mystic experiences. 

The first friend to warn me to keep the discovery 
private was Frank Barron. He was shocked at my 
organizing a large project of graduate students. This 
sort of research is internal. Take it yourself and 
read Blake. Frank had taken the mushrooms two 
years before and it plunged him into twelve months 
of contemplation, wild poetry, and dedicated study 
of mystical philosophy. 

The politics, the administration, the organization 
of a large research project made no sense to him. 
Frank Barron is a gentleman scholar of the old 
school a cross between William James and Dylan 
Thomas. Bureaucracy, committee meetings alien- 
ated his Celtic mystic intuitions. Experimentation 
on the sacred mushroom and the mystic experience 
made no more sense to Frank than psychological 
studies of the effects of the Catholic sacraments. 
What are the mental-health implications of bap- 
tism? Let us request a federal foundation grant to 
administer personality tests before and after Holy 
Communion. What are the psychiatric diagnostic 
characteristics of the visionary prophet? Let us 

Presbyterian Theodore Gill, 
President of San Francisco 
Theological Seminary, won- 
ders whether the drug ex- 
perience might be a rival 
rather than a supplement to 
what conventional religion 

Says he: The drugs make 
an end run around Christ 
and go straight to the Holy 

Clerics also charge that 
LSD zealots have become a 
clique of modern gnostics 
concerned only with fur- 
thering their private search 
for what they call inner free- 

Others feel that the church 
should not quickly dismiss 
anything that has the power 
to deepen faith. 

Dr. W. T. Stace, of Prince- 
ton, one of the nation's 
foremost students of mysti- 
cism, believes that LSD can 
change lives for the better. 

The fact that the experience 
was induced by drugs has 
no bearing on its validity, 
he says. 

288 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

In an article on the drugs 
written with Leary for the 
journal Religious Education, 
Dr. Walter Houston Clark of 
Andover Newton Theologi- 
cal School argued that the 
structure of the drugs is 
similar to that of a family 
of chemicals in the body 
known as indoles. 

It may be, he suggested, 
that a naturally occurring 
excess of the indoles might 
predispose some people to 
certain kinds of mystical ex- 

Says Paul Lee, an instructor 
at M.I.T. who took LSD 
while a student at Harvard 
Divinity School: 

The pity is that our every- 
day religious experience 
has become so jaded, so 
rationalized that to become 
aware of the mystery, won- 
derment, and confusion of 
life we must resort to the 

Nonetheless, many of us 
are profoundly grateful for 
the vistas opened up by the 
drug experience. 

It remains to be seen 
whether this experience is 
to be interpreted in reli- 
gious language. 


make quantitative measures and statistical analyses 
of the Holy Spirit. Oh, really? Are you kidding? 

Listen, Frank, let's come on as psychologists and 
develop a research project that aims at producing 
the ecstatic moment. Develop a science of ecstatics. 
Train graduate students to illuminate themselves 
and others. We have statisticians who systematize 
the static how about ecstatisticians who systema- 
tize the ecstatic? 

No, you cant do it with graduate students. They 
are temperamentally and professionally trained to 
look outside, at behavior. You'll find your native 
mystics among artists, poets, eccentrics. Don't mix 
the professional with the spiritual. And don't talk 
about the mushrooms so much. 

But it was impossible not to talk about the ex- 
perience. I was peripherally involved in Cambridge 
social life. Cocktails. Dinners. Conversations. 

Sitting on a sofa with a dry martini trying to 
explain what it is like to go out of your mind and 
talk to God. Professors' wives leaning forward, wet 
lips, eyes glistening, the scent of perfume and 
alcohol breath. Fascination. Disbelief. Fear. 

Gerald Heard, bearded wise old philosopher, 
knew what was going to happen. He had studied 
the sociology of ecstasy for forty years and recog- 
nized the ancient sacramental meaning of LSD. 

He came to visit us at Harvard. We asked his 
advice in the form of specific, practical questions 
and he always replied in parables. The Eleusinian 
mysteries. Tantric cults. Tibetan secrets. The 
Masonic Brotherhood. The Illuminati. Medieval 
sects. The oral tradition. The secret teachings al- 
ways passed from guru to disciple. He never gave 
an explicit answer but the meaning was clear. He 
who speaks does not know; he who knows speaks 
privately or not at all. Go underground. 

Alan Watts came to visit. Wise. Detached. 
Funny. Jolly. Bubbling. Eloquent. Experienced. He 
was shy of groups and organizations. Don't upset 
the establishment. Blavatsky's Secret. The English 
occultists. Gurdjieff and Ouspensky The Fourth 
Way of the sly man. He does not profess a public 
yoga. He takes his "little pill" quietly and goes all 
the way. 

Spring 1962 00 289 

Alan (a former Anglican priest) conducted our 
first LSD session. On Easter Sunday. A High 
Church ceremony. Goblets. Homemade bread and 
good French wine. Parables and Zen jokes. Susan, 
my twelve-year-old, and Jack, age ten, performed as 
acolytes. The sun shone through the clouds at noon 
and Madison Presnell and Lisa, his beautiful flower 
wife, and their twins arrived from church radiant in 
Easter clothes. 

Lisa played the grand piano, and Madison, with 
his African seed wisdom, played the grand jester and 
floated up to us on contact-high and spun out 
psychedelic stories. 

At the communion supper Alan laughed. I see 
everything, everything in its cosmic dimension. 
Every phrase. Every action. How divinely funny. 

Aldous Huxley sat with us in our early planning 
sessions and turned-on with us but remained con- 
vinced that religion was the inevitable institutional 
channel for the psychedelics. He called LSD a 
gratuitous grace. At his suggestion I initiated dis- 
cussions with some Unitarian ministers. They were, 
as always, cultured, tolerant, open-minded, but 
hopelessly intellectual. 

One day in December i960 I received a note 
from a Professor Huston Smith, philosopher at 
M.I.T. We lunched at the Faculty Club. It seemed 
that during a seminar on religious experience at 
M.I.T., Professor Smith had suggested that West- 
erners could never hope to attain to the mystic 
experience. Aldous had passed over a note to 
Huston Smith with my telephone number. 

Professor Smith had an ideal background for a 
psychedelic trip. His parents were missionaries and 
he spent seventeen years in China. His professional 
game was comparative religion. He had sought the 
visionary experience in monasteries in Burma and 

He had been waiting and working for a long time 
for the direct confrontation. 

And so it was arranged that on New Year's Day, 
1961, Huston and his good wife Eleanor would 
come to my house to turn-on. 

They arrived late. And Huston was nervous. 

There was no ritual because I was too inexpe- 

From "The Religious Ex- 
perience, Its Production and 
Interpretation" by Timothy 
Leary, in the Psychedelic 

We have arranged tran- 
scendental experiences for 
over four thousand persons 
from all walks of life, in- 
cluding two hundred full- 
time religious professionals, 
about half of whom belong 
to Eastern religions and 
about half of whom profess 
the Christian or Jewish 

In our research files and in 
certain denominational of- 
fices there is building up a 
large and quite remarkable 
collection of reports which 
will be published when the 
political atmosphere be- 
comes more tolerant. 

At this point it is conserva- 
tive to state that over sev- 
enty-five percent of these 
subjects report intense 
mystico-religious reactions, 
and considerably more than 
half claim that they have 
had the deepest spiritual 
experience of their life. 

We have five scientific 
studies by qualified in- 
vestigators the four natu- 
ralistic studies of Leary et 
al., Savage et al., Ditman 
ef al. and Janiger-McGloth- 

and the triple-blind study 
in the Harvard dissertation 
mentioned earlier yielding 
data which indicate that 
(1) If the setting is sup- 
portive but not spiritual, be- 
tween 40 and 75 percent of 
psychedelic subjects will 
report intense and life- 
changing religious experi- 
ences; . . . 

290 00 When Will You Ready? 

and that, (2) If the set and 
setting are supportive and 
spiritual, then around 90 
percent of the experiences 
will be revelatory and mys- 

It is hard to see how these 
results can be disregarded 
by those who are con- 
cerned with spiritual growth 
and religious development. 

These data are even more 
interesting because the ex- 
periments took place dur- 
ing an historical era when 
mysticism, individual reli- 
gious ecstasy (as opposed 
to religious behavior), was 
highly suspect, . . . 

And when the classic, di- 
rect non-verbal means of 
revelation and conscious- 
ness-expansion such as 
meditation, yoga, fasting, 
monastic withdrawal and 
sacramental foods and 
drugs were surrounded by 
an aura of fear, clandestine 
secrecy . . . 

Active social sanction, and 
even imprisonment. 

The religious experience. 
You are undoubtedly won- 
dering about the meaning 
of this phrase which has 
been used so freely in the 
preceding paragraphs. May 
I offer a definition? 

rienced to understand the importance of ritual and 
too ignorant to suggest that Huston and Eleanor 
provide their own and too aware of the trap of the 
mind to impose my structure on the experience. 

After taking the sacrament Huston lay for six 
hours in a comatose terror. Then lay for four hours 
in silent dazed contemplation. I had been busy 
during the day offering irrelevant aid, tea (not 
drunk), fruit (not eaten), supportive remarks (un- 
answered ) . 

As I drove them home in heavy silence I felt the 
session was a failure half blaming my inexpe- 
rience, half blaming the subjects for being unpre- 

The next day Huston phoned with the most 
erthusiastic, ecstatic, grateful cordiality. The ses- 
sion was more than he expected. The sacrament 
had unlocked the door. 

In *he subsequent months Huston ran psilocybin 
sessions for undergraduate and graduate students 
at M.I.T. Laboratory exercises for his lectures on 
the mystic experience. Those were the casual days 
before the politicians and the dark priesthood of 
psychiatry had made a scandal out of LSD. 

After the sessions some of his students roared 
over to Harvard to dedicate their lives to the psy- 
chedelic cause, but we had no way of using these 
unleashed spiritual energies no turn-on, tune-in, 
drop-out program. We had our hands full with 
converted Harvard graduate students. I wonder 
what ever happened to those eager youngsters. 

During the summer and fall of 1961 more and 
more interest in psychedelics was developing, par- 
ticularly among the religious. 

Dr. Walter Houston Clark, Dean of the Hartford 
Seminary, was a visiting scholar at Harvard and 
kept coming around to talk about turning-on. He 
was a handsome, distinguished graying figure of 
somewhat awesome respectability. He neither 
drank nor smoked, and talked about William 
James. I felt he was really too academic and con- 
servative to flip-out in the divine dance. I had a 
protective feeling about him. He couldn't really 
know what was involved. 

Then there was Walter Pahnke a young country- 

Spring 1962 00 291 

bumpkin, fresh-faced, gee-whiz enthusiast. He had 
a ministerial degree ( Midwest Lutheran, I believe ) 
and a medical license and was an advanced gradu- 
ate student in the Ph.D. program of the Harvard 
Divinity School. 

Walter wanted to do a thesis dissertation re- 
search on the psychedelic experience. Yes sir. A 
medically supervised, double-blind, pre- and post- 
tested, controlled, scientifically up-to-date kosher 
experiment on the production of the objectively 
defined, bona-fide mystic experience as described 
by Christian visionaries and to be brought about by 
our ministrations. 

Walter Pahnke was so serious and so naive, I 
laughed out loud. How many subjects, Walter? 

Well, twenty in the control group and twenty in 
the experiment. And they'll all take the drug in a 
church with organ music and a sermon and the 
whole Protestant ritual going. I've read all you've 
written about the importance of set-and-setting and 
it sounds right to me. 

Walter Pahnke spoke with a boy-scort sincerity. 

I gulped. You mean you are suggesting we turn- 
on twenty people at the same time in the same 
public place. 

Yes-sirree. Wouldn't be scientific to do it at dif- 
ferent times. Besides I want to do it on Good 
Friday in the Boston University Chapel. I know 
Dean Howard Thurmond and he's interested in the 
mystic experience and he'll let us use the chapel. 

I really had to laugh at this caricature of the 
experimental design applied to that most sacred 
experience. If he had proposed giving aphrodisiacs 
to twenty virgins to produce a mass orgasm, it 
wouldn't have sounded further out. 

My dear Walter, I'm speechless! That is the most 
reckless wild suggestion I've ever heard in my life. 
You don't understand what you are dealing with. A 
psychedelic experience flips you out of your mind. 
It's intimate. It's private. You laugh. You moan in 
cosmic terror. You roll on the floor wrestling with 
God and the devil. In particular, the first session 
must be in a protected, quiet, secure surrounding. 

Walter Pahnke was stubborn. It'll be secure, all 
right. I've got a medical degree and I'll have tran- 

The religious experience is 
the ecstatic, incontrovertibly 
certain, subjective discov- 
ery of answers to seven 
basic spiritual questions. 

What are these seven basic 
spiritual questions? There 
is the ultimate-power ques- 
tion, the life question, the 
human-destiny question, and 
the ego question. 

1. The ultimate-power ques- 
tion: What is the ultimate 
power or basic energy 
which moves the universe, 
creates life? 

2. The life question: What 
is life, ,s ere did it start, 
where is it going? 

3. The human-destiny ques- 
tion. What is man, whence 
did he come, and where is 
he going? 

4. The knowledge question. 
How do we know? 

5. The ego question (spir- 
itual and not secular, psy- 
chological, or social): What 
am I? What is my place in 
the plan? 

292 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

6. The emotional question. 
What should we feel? 

7. The ultimate-escape 
question. How can we end 

Now one important fact 
about these questions is 
that they are continually 
being answered and re- 
answered, not only by all 
the religions of the world 
but also by the data of the 
natural sciences. 

Reread these questions 
from the standpoint of the 
goals of (1) astronomy- 
physics, (2) biochemistry, 
(3) genetics and physi- 
ology, (4) neurology, (5) 
psychology, (6) psychia- 
try, (7) anesthesiology. 

But if non-secular, "pure" 
science and religion ad- 
dress themselves to the 
same basic questions, what 
is the distinction between 
the two disciplines? 

Science is the systematic 
attempt to record and mea- 
sure the energy process and 
the sequence of energy 
transformation we call life. 

The goal is to answer the 
basic questions in terms of 
objective, observed, public 

quilizers to inject and I'll do psychiatric inter- 
views to screen out pre-psychotics. 

No, Walter, you don't get the point. What you 
are proposing may be psychiatrically safe but it's 
indecent. You've never had a session, have you? 


Well, Walter, I like your idea. I'd love to help 
you do a systematic study of the mystic experience, 
but you must know what is involved. You must 
have several sessions yourself before you begin to 
think about a research study. 

Nope. He couldn't do that. He realized that there 
might be all sorts of opposition to his study from 
Harvard, from the Divinity School, from the medi- 
cal people. Gosh, he knew how hidebound people 
were. Therefore he must preserve his psychedelic 
virginity. He didn't want to be accused of being 
biased and too positive. He had to be able to say 
that he had never taken the drug until after his 
thesis was accepted. 

The more time I spent with the indefatigable 
Walter Pahnke, the more impressed I became. 
Behind his cornball facade there was an inner 
dedication, an unruffled optimism, a deep belief in 
the religious experience and the power of psyche- 
delics to produce it. 

An informal religious seminar slowly emerged. 
We began meeting on Sunday nights at Huston 
Smith's house: Walter Clark and Walter Pahnke 
and dignified professors from the Divinity School 
and visiting preachers and divines and a group of 
graduate students from the Divinity School. 

I would preach and answer questions. Huston 
and Walter Clark and Walter Pahnke would com- 
ment and encourage. Gradually an experiment de- 
veloped. We would run a session for several divin- 
ity students. This was a trial run for Walter Pahnke 
a preparation for his big experiment. 

The session was scheduled for a Saturday morn- 
ing in March, 1962. We met in two groups, one at 
my house and one at Huston's house. We had built 
up a staff of session guides Harvard graduate 
students and young professors. It went well. Walter 
Clark finally had his mystic experience, which he 
described in a moving report. 

294 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

Religion is the systematic 
attempt to provide answers 
to the same questions sub- 
jectively, in terms of direct, 
incontrovertible private ex- 

At this point I should like to 
present my central thesis. 
I am going to advance the 
hypothesis that those as- 
pects of the psychedelic 
experience which subjects 
report to be ineffable and 
ecstatically religious involve 
a direct . . . 

awareness of the processes 
which physicists and bio- 
chemists and neurologists 

(1 ) The ultimate-power ques- 
tion. A. The scientific an- 
swers to this question 
change constantly New- 
tonian laws, quantum inde- 
terminacy, atomic structure, 
nuclear structure. 

Today the basic energy is 
located within the nucleus. 

Inside the atom, a trans- 
parent sphere of emptiness 
thinly populated with elec- 
trons, the substance of the 
atom has shrunk to a core 
of unbelievable smallness: 

Enlarged one thousand mil- 
lion times, an atom would 
be about the size of a foot- 
ball, but its nucleus would 
still be hardly visible a 
mere speck of dust at the 

The psychedelic experience posed problems for 
some of the divinity students. 

Each one of these voyagers had a vision as 
dramatic as Moses or Mohammed. One college 
chaplain found himself in a bottomless well of cell 
and tissue and realized he was dying (i.e. mortal), 
and looked up for the light but doubted, and 
reached for faith and prayer and couldn't find it, 
and despaired and fell back on his mind for 
explanations and control, and grew sulky and de- 
manding and could not believe. He explained the 
experience afterwards in psychiatric terms and soon 
after left the ministry for a career in the social 

It was strong Old Testament stuff, believe me. 

Another minister found himself dying and cried 
out in great fear, and we told him, Pray, brother, 
and he prayed and was reborn in radiance. 

And another rolled on the floor, discovering that 
sex was the red-flame of life, copulating the carpet, 
and oned out, Is God nothing but sex? and we 
reminued him of his prayer "Thy will be done, 
Lord, not my will but thine," and he prayed and 
wept for joy. 

And another minister walked tensely into the 
garden and when I approached him smiling, he 
said, If you mention the word guilt to me Til punch 
you in the nose. And he cried out in despair, Who 
can help me? I said, Pray to your God, and he said, 
The hell with God, I want my wife, and I said, 
Your wife is God, and he said, Right! My wife is 
God! Get me home. Toward the end of the session 
we got a driver to take him one hundred miles back 
to his wife, and he had two telepathic experiences 
that left him awed and reverent and very much in 
love with his wife. 

And the minister who fell on his knees, ordered 
us all to do likewise, and looked up at me with 
righteous tears and said, Timothy Leary, put aside 
your vanity and testify to the Blood of the Lamb, 
and his minister friend, also high, said, Yes. Amen. 
Look at his eyes, the eyes of Christ, and I looked 
down at the wells of suffering and groaned that 
laughing Jesus had been made martyr by these 
Christians. And the friend said, Ho. Ho. The great 

Spring 1962 00 295 

Leary, master of games, has met his match in the 
eyes of Jesus. Look at these eyes, they see through 
even your game, Dr. Leary. 

And I wouldn't kneel. I said, Let us pray to- 
gether, but the suffering eyes flashed with right- 
eousness and I felt the arms go around my knees. 
By God, I was tackled by suffering Jesus-eyes 
burning me with reproach. And the two Christians 
on their knees looked up at me relentless, and 
linebacker Jesus-eyes would not let me go. 

I was amused and irritated because I saw the 
two thousand years of Christian moral-one-upman- 
ship and missionary coercion and holy sado-maso- 
chism. If I moved I'd be brought down in a tackle, 
unless I moved violently, in which case I'd hurt the 
suffering Jesus-eyes. 

I won't let you go, Brother Leary, until you fall 
on your knees for Jesus and you will do it if I 
have to hold you for days. 

Jesus-eyes wouldn't let go and wouldn't stop 
talking and wailing about Blood of the Lamb, 
repent, so I said, I'll stay here praying silently my 
Buddha prayer as long as you insist on holding me 
slave to you. Onward Christian soldiers, but for 
Christ's sake shut up and let us meditate and 
worship in holy silence. And his friend said, Yes, 
let's meditate silently with Brother Tim, but Jesus- 
eyes couldn't keep still and kept screaming, He 
died for our sins, and I fought down my desire to 
straight-arm the linebacker and run for the goal 
and I relaxed and after five minutes Jesus-eyes let 
go his tackle for a split second and I was off and 
away to the kitchen where I opened the refrigerator 
and pulled out a beer and was sitting with my feet 
on the kitchen table when the missionaries roared 
in to save my soul and when the preaching con- 
tinued I opened the window and the soft spring air 
billowed the curtain and I shouted, See that soft 
breeze? That's the breath of God, for me. And hear 
those birds? ... we all listened. Well that's the 
sermon I tune-in to. It's all God, beloved Jesus- 
eyes, and the bubbles on this beer, see them, 
they're part of the Divine Scheme too. I toast you 
and God. And with that we all smiled and the 
session went on. 

Yet that nucleus radiates a 
powerful electric field which 
holds and controls the elec- 
trons around it. 

Incredible power and com- 
plexity operating at speeds 
and spatial dimensions 
which our conceptual minds 
cannot register. 

Infinitely small, yet pulsating 
outward through enormous 
networks of electrical forces 
atom, molecule, cell, 
planet, star: All forms danc- 
ing to the nuclear tune. 

The cosmic design is this 
network of energy whirling 
through space-time. 

More than fifteen thousand 
million years ago the oldest 
stars (oldest, that is, that 
we now know about) began 
to form. 

Whirling disks of gas mole- 
cules driven of course by 
that tiny, spinning, nuclear 
force condensing clouds 
further condensations 
the tangled web of spinning 
magnetic fields clustering 
into stellar forms. . . . 

And each stellar cluster 
hooked up in magnetic 
dance with its planetary 
cluster and with every other 
star in the galaxy and each 
galaxy whirling in syn- 
chronized relationship to 
the other galaxies. 

296 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

One thousand million gal- 
axies. From 100 million to 
100,000 million stars in a 
galaxy that is to say, 
100,000 million planetary 
systems per galaxy . . . 

. . . and each planetary 
system slowly wheeling 
through the stellar cycle 
that allows for a brief time 
the possibility of life as we 
know it. 

Here in the always changing 
data of nuclear physics and 
astronomy is the current 
scientific answer to the first 
basic question material 
enough indeed for an awe- 
some cosmology. 

B. Psychedelic reports of- 
ten contain phrases which 
seem to describe similar 
phenomena, subjectively ex- 

Subjects speak of partici- 
pating and merging with 
pure (i.e., content-free) en- 
ergy, white light: of witness- 
ing the breakdown of mac- 
roscopic objects into vibra- 
tory patterns, the awareness 
that everything is a dance 
of particles, 

sensing the smallness and 
fragility of our system, vi- 
sions of the void, of world- 
ending explosions, of the 
cyclical nature of creation 
and dissolution, etc. 

It was during these sessions that I first caught on 
to the power and meaning of prayer. That prayer 
wasn't a telegram sent in the English language to 
the department of requisition and supply on the top 
floor. I realized that you have to be out of your 
mind to pray. That you can't rationalize with a five- 
billion-year-old energy process. That only psychot- 
ics and flipped-out saints and psychedelics can 
pray. And that prayer is the compass . . . the gy- 
roscope . . . the centering device to give you di- 
rection and courage and trust at those moments 
when you are overwhelmed by the power and 
breadth of the divine process. 

The psychedelic experience posed problems for 
some of the divinity students. It seemed that most 
of them were more interested in their doctorates, 
and academic careers. The problem was that in 
these careers the revelatory confrontation and the 
voice of God had not played much of a part. So 
there were crises of conscience and identity but it 
was all healthy and yeasty and the religious 
seminar continued Sunday evenings and we kept 
turning-on ministers and divinity students by day 
and by night. 

Meanwhile I had been through my big LSD 
death-rebirth under the guidance of Michael, and 
the religious-ontological nature of the psychedelic 
experience was obvious to me, and any secular 
discussion about psychedelic drugs creativity, 
psychiatric treatment, etc. seemed irrelevant. I was 
catching the religious fever. 

An increasing number of priests and ministers 
and theologians kept coming around. And then in 
the spring of 1962 came the swing to the East. 

It started with Fred Swain, World War II air 
force major, who became a Vedanta Hindu monk in 
1948, and who lived in an ashram near Boston. He 
started hanging out at the house and he told us 
about Hinduism and the psychedelic pantheon of 
gods and his guru and yoga. Fred had gone to 
Mexico the year before and had a far-out mush- 
room trip with Maria Sabrina in the mountains of 

I started visiting the Vedanta ashram. It was a 
surprise and delight to discover this group of holy, 
mature, sensible people who had renounced the 

Spring 1962 00 297 

world in pursuit of the visionary quest. The Hindu 
Bibles read like psychedelic manuals. The Hindu 
myths were session reports. The ashram itself was a 
turn-on. A serene, rhythmic life of work and medi- 
tation all aimed at getting high. 

The reports of Fred Swain and Alan Watts and 
Aldous Huxley had impressed them with the yogic 
possibilities of psychedelic drugs. They were watch- 
ing me too, testing me out. 

After several visits I was asked, shyly, to guide a 
session for some of the people in the ashram. 

I came to the ashram early one morning and 
joined the meditating-chanting service. Then, those 
who were to take the trip remained for more 
prayers and contemplation. The LSD had been 
placed in chalices on the altar. Incense and flowers 
adorned it. The LSD sacrament was mixed with 
holy water from the Ganges, blessed, and drunk. 

Now I need not apologize 
for the flimsy inadequacy of 
these words. We just don't 
have a better experiential 

If God were to permit you a 
brief voyage into the divine 
process, let you whirl for a 
second into the atomic nu- 
cleus or spin you out on a 
light-year trip through the 
galaxies, . . . 

how on earth would you de- 
scribe what you saw, when 
you got back, breathless, 
to your office? 

In human affairs, aesthetic form comes into being 
when traditions exist that, strong and abiding like 
mountains, are made pleasing by a lucid beauty. By 
contemplating the forms existing in the heavens we 
come to understand time and its changing demands. 
Through contemplation of the forms existing in 
human society it becomes possible to shape the 
world. (IChing XXII) 

This metaphor may sound 
far-fetched and irrelevant to 
you, but just ask someone 
who has taken LSD in a 
supportive setting. 

Then we moved from the altar to the larger 
shrine-room we sat Indian-style on an oriental 
rug. Candles. Incense. Chanting. 

Then the Holy folk got high. I could see the LSD 
take over. In spite of their years of preparation they 
were shocked by the power and complexity of the 
LSD. They knew exactly what was happening but 
it still scared them. I was high too and overcome by 
the power of the ashram and the shrine and the 
ancient rituals. We were all caught in Hindu my- 
thologies. I was awed and dazzled and confused. 
What happens here? Now I'm Siva, okay, but what 
do I do? Hindu sessions have been going on for five 
thousand years. I'm a naive Westerner. I remem- 
bered my prayer, When in doubt, be quiet, drift, 
trust. I sat erect in the Indian position flipped-out, 
ecstatic, bewildered. 

The Holy people of the ashram were bowled 

(2) The Life question: A. 
The scientific answer: Our 
planetary system began 
over five billion years ago 
and has around five billion 
years to go. 

Life as we know it dates 
back about one billion 
years. In other words, the 
earth spun for about eighty 
percent of its existence 
without life. 

298 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

The crust slowly cooled and 
was eroded by incessant 
water flow. 

Fertile mineral mud was de- 
posited . . . now giving 
. . . for the first time . . . 
the possibility of harboring 

Thunderbolts in the mud 
produce amino acids, the 
basic building blocks of 

Then begins the ceaseless 
production of protein mole- 
cules, incalculable in num- 
ber, forever combining into 
new forms. 

The variety of proteins ex- 
ceeds all the drops of water 
in all the oceans of the 

Then protoplasm. Cell. 
Within the cell, incredible 
beauty and order. When we 
consider the teeming ac- 
tivity of a modern city it is 
difficult to realize that in 
the cells of our bodies in- 
finitely more complicated 
processes are at work. . . . 

Ceaseless manufacture, ac- 
quisition of food, storage, 
communication, and ad- 
ministration. . . . 

over. They really saw the mythic nature of the 
situation. They looked up at me in terror and awe. I 
was radiating energy. The beautiful nun Sakti 
gasped and crawled over and put her head in my 
lap. Oh Bhagavan, Lord, you have conquered me. 
Forgive my doubts and my arrogance. I surrender 
to you. The others watched with hushed attention. 
Fred Swain crouched, squatting, the monkey-God, 
Hanuman. We were four figures from a temple 
carving. We were four timeless divinities caught in 
the classic posture of union, celebration, cosmic 

I leaned down and smiled and stroked Sakti's 
brow. Rest, beloved. We are one. She sighed, Oh 
yes, and the others nodded. 

The candles burned silently. The incense smoke 
rose, essence of Holy India, reek of Kalighat 
temple, Calcutta, holy scent of Ram Mandir Ben- 
ares and Jaganath Puri and Konarak. I looked 
around the room. Ramakrishna's statue breathed 
and his eyes twinkled the message. Vivekananda's 
brown face beamed and winked. Christ grinned to 
be joined again with his celestial brothers. The rare- 
wood walls breathed. The sacred kundalini serpent 
uncoiled up the bronzed candelabra to the thou- 
sand-petaled lotus blossom. This was the fulcrum 
moment of eternity. The exact second of conscious- 
ness, fragile, omniscient. God was present and 
spoke to us in silence. 

I was overcome with reverence. And gratitude. 
To be allowed this glimpse, this participation in the 
Holy company, in the venerable dance. 

I was a Hindu from that moment on. No, that's 
not the way to say it. I recognized that day in the 
temple that we are all Hindus in our essence. We 
are all Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Laughing 
Krishna. Immutable Brahma. Yes and Asiatic- 
sensual Siva. Stern Kali with bloody hands. Undu- 
lant flowering Laxmi. Multi-armed Vishnu. Noble 
Rama. That day in the temple I discovered my 

Things were different after that session. There 
was a new dimension. I was less a confident Ameri- 
can and more an unsure human. There was more 
mystery and more sense of being part of an ancient 

300 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

All this takes place in su- 
perb harmony, with the 
cooperation of all the par- 
ticipants of a living system, 
regulated down to the 
smallest detail. 

Life is the striving cycle of 
repetitious, reproductive en- 
ergy transformations. Mov- 
ing, twisting, devouring, 
changing, the unit of life 
is the cell. 

And the blueprint is the 
genetic code, the two nu- 
cleic acids the long, inter- 
twined, duplicating chains 
of DNA and the controlling 
regulation of RNA which 
determine the structure of 
the living substance. 

And where is it going? Ex- 
actly like the old Hindu 
myths of cyclical rotation, 
the astro-physicists tell us 
that life is a temporary se- 
quence which occurs at a 
brief midpoint in the plane- 
tary cycle. 

processional profession. The slow invisible process 
of becoming a guru, a holy man, had begun. It 
would be four years before I could openly admit to 
it. Accept my divinity, my divine election. This holy- 
man thing is always something you confess to, 
rather than claim. When you say it, you lose it, but 
not for long. It's a relentless growing process which, 
like aging or wrinkles, once it has begun, cant be 
stopped. The inexorable, unplanned for, trouble- 
some, comically embarrassing, implausible unstop- 
pable tidal sweep towards sainthood. How ironic 
and ludicrous that an American Irishman should be 
forced into sainthood! There was the dim recogni- 
tion that I had known it all along. Since childhood. 
In the flush of youthful game success, the nagging, 
peripheral, elusive memory that I had been through 
this before; that no game victory or career achieve- 
ment could satisfy because I had won and lost the 
same games so many times before. 

Is it reincarnation? Or just the living-out of ado- 
lescent fantasies of messiahism? It makes no dif- 
ference how you explain it it's as real as rain. 

The first intimations of the prophetic role came 
after the session in the ashram. The monks and 
nuns treated me as a guru. To them it was obvious. 
I was not a Harvard psychologist with a staff of 
research assistants. Come off it, please. I was, like it 
or not, playing out the ancient role. 

The evolution of organic forms is a combination 
of internal protein potentiality and external pres- 
sure. Seed and sun. And so with man's spiritual 
evolution. Inner potential plus external social 

When the guru was away, members of the ash- 
ram would visit me for religious advice. And wan- 
dering aspirants began to drift into the house. 
Devotees looking for cosmic direction, not game 
counsel. Their dilemmas are celestial, not practical. 
And you don't offer solutions just reminders of 
who we are and where we are and where we came 
from and how it is to unfold. We all know these 
things. We just need reminders. The person who 
remembers, who reminds, who acts as an alarm 
clock, who becomes time-and-weather announcer 
for central broadcasting, station RDNA this per- 
son is called guru. Prophet. 

Spring 1962 00 301 

The profession of holy man is based, like every- 
thing else human, upon the laws of the nervous 
system and the laws of social interaction. It in- 
volves feedback, set, expectation, setting, social 
pressure, habit. If you are turned-on/tuned-in/ 
dropped-out, then people will begin treating you as 
a spiritual teacher. And if people continue to press 
you with questions and problems and emotions 
appropriate only to the guru-role, you begin to act 
like a holy man. You just have to. But the acting 
like a holy-man-spiritual-teacher must be based on, 
must always be in touch with your holy-inner-ex- 
perimenting. If the holy actions get separated from 
the holy-orgiastic-ecstasy-revelation-thread inside, 
then you become a fraud, a play-actor priest, a 
pious do-gooder. That's the occupational hazard of 
a messiah. You have to keep turning-on/tuning-in/ 
dropping-out yourself. You have to have a frighten- 
ing sacrament that works and continues to work. 

The fire, whose light illuminates the mountain and 
makes it pleasing, does not shine far; in the same 
way, beautiful form suffices to brighten and to throw 
light upon matters of lesser moment, but important 
questions cannot be decided in this way. They 
require greater earnestness. ( I Ching XXII ) 

It's easy to get caught up in the guru game. And 
you can keep it going in a routine fashion because 
your disciples are only too happy to cop-out, to 
settle for your divinity, not theirs. The guru has to 
keep dropping-out of the guru role and shocking 
followers out of their piety and jarring them, and 
he can never stay virtuously predictable. 

That's why so many gurus get stale and pompous 
and narcissistic. They believe and react to the 
fantasies about their holiness. That was the power 
of Gandhi, of Ramakrishna, of Gurdjieff. They 
knew that the guru has to keep turning-on/tuning- 
in/ dropping-out. And that's the dilemma of Krish- 
namurti. He saw the falseness of his avatar-God 
role. It had been laid on him, after all, without his 
choice as a child, and he was too intelligent and too 
honest to go along with it and he shouted, Stop. 
Come on! I'm not The God. You all are Gods, if you 
only remember. But Krishnamurti had no way of 

Terrestrial life began around 
four billion years A.B. ("af- 
ter the beginning" of our 
solar cycle) and will run for 
another two billion years 
or so. 

At that time the solar fur- 
nace will burn so hot that 
the minor planets (includ- 
ing earth) will boil, bubble, 
and burn out. 

In other planetary systems 
the time spans are different, 
but the cycle is probably 
the same. 

The psychedelic correlates 
of these biological concepts 
sound like this: Confronta- 
tion with and participation 
in cellular flow; . . . 

visions of microscopic pro- 
cesses; strange, undulating 
multi-colored tissue pat- 
terns; being a one-celled 
organism floating down ar- 
terial waterways; being part 
of the fantastic artistry of 
internal factories; . . . 

recoiling with fear at the 
incessant push, struggle, 
drive of the biological ma- 
chinery, clicking, clicking, 
endlessly, endlessly at ev- 
ery moment engulfing you. 

302 00 When Will You Be Ready? 

(3) The human-destiny ques- 
tion: A. The scientific an- 
swer: The flame of life which 
moves every living form, in- 
cluding the cell cluster you 
call yourself, began, we are 
told, as a tiny single-celled 
spark in the lower pre- 
Cambrian mud; then passed 
over in steady transforma- 
tions to more complex 

turning-on. None of the sacraments worked for him 
and so he was caught in the reluctant guru game, 
lecturing and writing the message that there is no 
message, using his intellectual method to put down 
method, and teaching from a thousand middle-class 
podiums that there is no teacher and there is no 
mystery-magic because he, Krishnamurti, like a 
Medici pope (but more honest than a nepotist 
Renaissance pope because he blew the whistle 
beautifully and cleanly on his own religious bu- 
reaucracy game), was forced into a role he wasn't 
ready for the avatar who had never turned-on. 

Well, that Spring of 1962 was a rock-and-roll 
religious revival season. My house was swarming 
with Christian ministers and Hindu practitioners. 
We spent a lot of time at the Vedanta ashram. 
Conversions and rebirths occurring on a relentless 
weekly schedule. 

LSD used as a sacrament was working. 

grace has success. 
In small matters 
It is favorable to undertake 

(I Ching) 



Your Faith Will Perform Miracles: 





April 1962 Q 

Guides: Walter clark, *3 




Oracle: IV | 

Youthful Folly H 

Keeping Still, Mountain 
The Abysmal, Water 

A spring weZZs up at the foot of the mountain: 
The image of youth. 

Thus the superior man fosters his character 
By thoroughness in all that he does. 


TRIP 15 

From Patrologici Latins by 
Johannes Scotus Erigena: 

The flux of all things is not 
a motion in time, because 
all time is comprehended 
within one part of the pro- 
cess. It is not a cycle which 
repeats itself, but an eter- 
nal cycle, and the two as- 
pects of the process are 
simultaneously eternal. Na- 
ture is eternal, but not 
static. It is eternally dyna- 
mic, moving by the dialecti- 
cal process of division and 

These ideas, existing in the 
mind of God, contain the 
substances of all things: 
Man, for example, is most 
correctly defined as a cer- 
tain intellectual notion eter- 
nally made in the divine 


From The Confessions of 
St. Augustine: 

The memory containeth 
also reasons and laws in- 
numerable of numbers and 
dimensions, none of which 
hath any bodily sense im- 
pressed; seeing they have 
neither colour, nor sound, 
nor taste, nor smell, nor 
touch. I have heard the 
sound of the words whereby 
when discussed they are 
denoted: But the sounds 
are other than the things. 

And so was Walter Pahnke working. He was 
doggedly going ahead with plans for his controlled 
experiment. I had gone along with Walter all along, 
humoring him, knowing that it couldn't happen. 
But Walter Pahnke was unstoppable. A master 
politician in the art of the feasible. 

First he cooled me out. He agreed to change his 
design. There would be no turning-on of a large 
group, no marching around of masses of people 
stoned out of their minds. Walter agreed to divide 
the sample into five small groups. In each group 
there would be four divinity students two of whom 
would be given psilocybin ( the sacred mushroom in 
pill form) and the other two a placebo (a non- 
psychedelic pill). Each group would be guided by 
two members of our Harvard project psychedelic 
veterans one of whom would take psilocybin and 
one of whom would get the placebo. 

No one, not even Walter Pahnke, would know 
who would get the sacrament and who would draw 
the inactive pill. 

Walter balked at the guides taking the drug. This 
was the main objection which psychiatrists and self- 
appointed researchers were leveling at our work. 
How can doctors take drugs with the subjects? The 
psychiatrists and scientists who were denouncing 
our work had never taken a psychedelic. To them 
LSD and psilocybin made you drunk like booze or 
crazy like mental hospitals. In their Torquemada 
fantasies we were reeling around intoxicated (or 
worse ) . How could we be objective? 

But I insisted. There can be no doctor-patient 
game going when you use psychedelics. We are all 
in it together. Shared ignorance. Shared hopes. 
Shared risks. One guide (selected by lot) would be 
straight and one would be high. And all ten guides 

April 1962 00 305 

would be seeking the same thing as the subjects 
a deep spiritual experience on Good Friday. 

Walter agreed. 

Next, Walter went to the administrators at the 
three schools and reassured them. The implausible 
breadth and scope of the experiment was itself an 
advantage. The fact that three colleges were in- 
volved allowed for administrative buck-passing. 
After all, reasoned Boston University, it's a Harvard 
doctoral dissertation. After all, reasoned Harvard, 
our students are not involved as subjects. After all, 
reasoned Andover-Newton, it's really a Harvard- 
Boston University project. Our students are in- 
volved as individuals. 

And then Walter had some powerful sacred cows 
going for him. He was an M.D., a minister, a Har- 
vard scientist. But more important were the good 
human energies he had going for him. First there 
was his own unmistakable sincerity and his reassur- 
ing, square, conventional, earnest solidity. 

Then he had the backlog of solid spiritual power 
that had been a-building up over the past year. 
Every theologian, minister, and administrator in the 
Boston area had felt the ripple of our religious 
project. We had provided (in safety) deep, shatter- 
ing, spiritual conversion experiences for a good two 
dozen members of the academic establishment. The 
good word had got around. 

Then, and perhaps most important, Walter had 
the full support of at least one impressive, high- 
status person at each institution. Professor Huston 
Smith of M.I.T. saintly, benevolent, articulate, 
sound, mature would be a guide and take the pill 
blindly on Good Friday and risk going out of his 

And Dr. Walter Clark of Andover-Newton con- 
vincing, mellow, lovable was ready to take the 
sacrament with strangers and lend his guiding 

And at Harvard, Walter Pahnke's thesis-adviser 
was behind the experiment. 

So during the Lenten weeks we divided into 
groups, and the two guides met with the four 
students and got to know each other and shared 

I have seen the lines of 
architects, the very finest, 
like a spider's thread; but 
those are still different, they 
are not the images of those 
lines which the eye of flesh 
showed me: He knoweth 
them, whosoever without 
any conception whatsoever 
of a body, recognises them 
within himself. 


From The Age of Belief by 
Anne Fremantle: 

Augustine concludes that 
past and future are all 
measured, as is the present 
too, by memory; indeed all 
reality, including God him- 
self, lurks there, in man's 


From The Confessions of St. 

When I enter there, I re- 
quire what I will to be 
brought forth, and some- 
thing instantly comes; oth- 
ers must be longer sought 
after, which are fetched, as 
it were, out of some inner 
receptacle; others rush out 
in troops, and while one 
thing is desired and re- 
quired, they start forth, as 
who should say, "Is it per- 
chance I?" 

These things do I within, in 
that vast court of my mem- 
ory. For there are present 
with me, heaven, earth, sea, 
and whatever I could think 
on therein, besides what I 
have forgotten. 

306 00 Perform Miracles 

There also meet I with my- 
self, and recall myself, and 
when, where, and what I 
have done, and under what 
feelings. There be all which 
I remember, either on my 
own experience or other's 

Out of the same store do I 
myself with the past con- 
tinually combine fresh and 
fresh likenesses of things 
which I have experienced, 
or, from what I have experi- 
enced, have believed: and 
thence again infer future 
actions, events, and hopes. 

What then do I love, when 
I love my God? By my very 
soul I will ascend to him. 

Another power there is . . . 
whereby I imbue with sense 
of my flesh, which the Lord 
has framed for me: Com- 
manding the eye . . . that 
through it I should see, and 
the ear that through it I 
should hear; and to the 
other senses severally, what 
is to each their own pe- 
culiar seats and offices. 

I will pass then beyond this 
power of my nature also, 
rising by degrees unto Him 
who made me. And I came 
to the fields and spacious 
palaces of my memory, 
where are the treasures 
of innumerable images, 
brought into form from 
things of all sorts per- 
ceived by the senses. 


concerns and aspirations and ignorances. You see, 
the groups had this great thing in common. The 
sharing of goal and risk. No one knew who would 
receive the sacrament. We were all in it together. 

So, much to my amazement, the project came 
down to the final week with high enthusiasm and 
competent preparations. The little band of worship- 
ers drew close together, and the administrators in 
the Roman centers of pharisaic power remained 
nervously silent. By God, and by miracle, it was ap- 
parently going to happen. 

And then on Wednesday of Holy Week the 
Sanhedrin-ax fell. Walter Pahnke's motorcycle 
roared into my driveway that evening, and Walter 
stood in the kitchen in his leather jacket, stripping 
off his gloves, his face worried, telling me the bad 
news. We couldn't get the sacrament. We had 
agreed some time back to allay bureaucratic fears 
by turning over our supply of psychedelic drugs to 
Dr. Dana Farnsworth, director of the Harvard Med- 
ical Service. Farnsworth was now refusing to re- 
lease them for the Good Friday study. 

Dana Farnsworth was a genial extroverted politi- 
cal doctor whose administrative career was un- 
complicated by wit, wisdom, ethical principle, or 
scientific curiosity. 

Step one was to find out who was behind Farns- 
worth. I phoned the chairman of the academic 
committee who was overseeing our research 
project. He was at home, and his voice and the 
background noise spelled cocktail party. 

Fred, I've just found out that Farnsworth won't 
give us the drugs for the Good Friday study. 

The professor's voice lost the booze lilt and be- 
came guarded. Yes, so I hear. 

Well, Fred, he can't do that. The agreement was 
that your committee would approve the studies and 
that Farnsworth would release the drugs when we 
needed them. They belong to us, not him, after 
all. . . . 

Fred took off on a bureaucratic open-field run. 
The committee had no jurisdiction in this case. It 
was a Divinity School project. It was a Boston Uni- 
versity project. The exact administrative machinery 
for handling such confused jurisdiction had not 

April 1962 00 307 

been established. No, there couldn't possibly be a 
meeting until next week. Until after Good Friday. 

Well, let's be specific, Fred. Farnsworth wouldn't 
refuse to release the drugs without checking with 
the watchdog committee. And he would release 
them if you approved it. Right? 


And will you tell them to release the drugs for 
the Good Friday experiment on the religious ex- 

No. We won't interfere one way or the other, 
Tim. It's not our problem. We can't say yes. We 
don't want to get blamed if the experiment blows 
up in a scandal. Drugs on Good Friday, really, old 
man! And we don't want to say no, either. We can't 
stop research. 

So you are washing your hands of the affair. 

Exactly. We are washing our hands of the matter. 
And if we never hear of it again it will be great with 

Beautiful, Fred. Those classic lines have never 
been better delivered. But don't be under any 
illusions. You are going to hear more about the 

I hung up the phone and looked at Walter 
Pahnke. He had been listening anxiously. 

For the first time his clean-cut Midwestern face 
was gloomy. This whole thing is so right. I've done 
everything according to Hoyle medically, scien- 
tifically, academically, spiritually. We just can't let 
them stop it. 

Well, if it's right, Walter, they can't stop it. 
You can do it if you really want to. 

This froze Walter in his tracks. Do it anyway? 
Defy the director of the Health Department? Defy 
the Harvard officials? 

Walter didn't have a rebellious bone in his body. 
He was an establishment man, a good boy, right 
down the line. The problem was, he was one of 
those hardheaded, grass-roots, orthodox idealists 
who really believed in what was right. And stub- 
born about his virtue. Your classic, old-fashioned 
Protestant type. 

How can I do it if I want to? 

Well, Walter, we have the chapel and the ap- 

From The Religions of Man 
by Huston Smith: 

The prophets of Israel and 
Judah are one of the most 
amazing groups of individ- 
uals in all history. 

In the midst of the moral 
desert in which they found 
themselves, they spoke the 
words the world has been 
unable to forget. 

Some hear God roaring like 
a lion, others hear him in 
the ghostly stillness that 
precedes the storm. 

Yet one thing is common 
to them all; the conviction 
that every man simply by 
virtue of the fact that he is 
a human being, a child of 
God, has rights that even 
kings cannot erase. 


From Doors of Perception 
by Aldous Huxley: 

My own belief is that . . . 
these new mind-changers 
(the psychedelic drugs) will 
tend in the long run to 
deepen the spiritual life. . . . 

And this revival of religion 
will be at the same time a 
revolution. . . . 

308 00 Perform Miracles 

Religion will be transformed 
into an activity concerned 
mainly with experience and 

An everyday mysticism un- 
derlying and giving signifi- 
cance to everyday rational- 
ity, everyday tasks and 
duties, everyday human re- 


Wilson van Dusen: 

There is a central human 
experience which alters all 
other experiences. It has 
been called Satori in Japa- 
nese Zen, Moksha in Hin- 
duism, religious enlighten- 
ment or cosmic conscious- 
ness in the west. . . . 

(It) is not just an experi- 
ence among others, but 
rather the very heart of 
human experience. It is the 
center that gives under- 
standing to the whole. . . . 

Once found, life is altered 
because the very root of 
human identity has been 
deepened. . . . 

The drug LSD appears to 
facilitate the discovery of 
this apparently ancient and 
universal experience. 


proval of Dean Thurmond. And we have the 
students and the approval of the Seminary. And if 
your thesis adviser will back you, and he's got to 
because it's a sound scientific plan, then the only 
problem is to get the drugs. And I'll get you the 

How? I thought you had given all the sacrament 
to Farnsworth. 

I did give him all I had, but there's a psychiatrist 
in Worcester to whom I gave a supply last month 
and I know he hasn't used them and he'll give them 
back. All perfectly legal. From one M.D. to another. 

Thus we do not simply abandon the field to the 
opponent; we make it difficult for him to advance 
by showing perseverance in single acts of resistance. 
In this way we prepare, while retreating, for the 
count ermovement. ( I Ching IV ) 

Walter paced the floor. Then he clapped his 
hands together and stuck out his chin and spoke 
with dogged determination. 

It's right and it should be done. But it's got to 
be done openly. I'll call my thesis adviser and 
Boston University and the president of the Semi- 
nary, and if they don't object then we will ... his 
voice dropped off and he gulped ... do it in spite 
of Dr. Farnsworth. 

The next day the telephone kept ringing every 
few minutes. Walter's voice kept growing with 
confidence. Everyone agreed. 

On Holy Thursday evening, only eighteen hours 
before the Sacred Three-Hour Vigil, we got the 
pills and had them ground down to powder and 
sorted into plain envelopes with code numbers to 
set up the double blind experiment. 

Then at midnight on the eve of Good Friday I 
called the chairman of my department at Harvard. 
Look, David, I just want to tell you, in front, that 
we have the sacrament and we are going ahead with 
the religious experiment. 

David groaned. Oh God, why did you have to 
tell me in advance? 

Because we don't play secret games, David. Why 
do you groan? 

310 00 Perform Miracles 

Walter H. Clark 
Research Project Report: 

I regard the experience as 
a personal shaking to the 

The radical facing of my- 
self forced or perhaps I 
should say released by the 
drug was a trauma the 
depth of which was totally 

I would describe the ex- 
perience as a conversion 
experience of the most radi- 
cal nature rather than a 
mystical experience of the 
classical variety as Stace 
has defined it. 

Yet, though without many of 
the indications of mystical 
experience, I know I will 
understand the mystics 
much better, having had the 

Even some of the moving 
expressions of the Bible 
and religion pale in my at- 
tempt to describe the ex- 

Because now I may have to make an administra- 
tion decision. 

I laughed. It was too classic! Poor Pilate! David, 
that's the way it always is. Good Friday always 
poses problems for administrators. 

We assembled at the Seminary at ten the next 
morning. The guides would drive the students to 
the ceremony. Five rooms in the basement of the 
Boston University chapel were reserved for the 
groups. My group of six sat around waiting. The 
students had Bibles. Pahnke walked in with the 
envelopes each coded. In each envelope was a 
capsule containing white powder. 

I asked one of the students to say a prayer and 
we remained in silence for a while and then we 
took the pill. 

Then we all sat waiting to discover what we had 
taken. The students were reading their Bibles, but I 
guessed they weren't concentrating on the words. 

After a while I felt something changing inside. 
Ah. Good! I got the psilocybin. I waited. My skin 
became pink and flushed with heat. Hello. That's 
odd. Never felt like this from psilocybin. Soon my 
body was radiating heat but my consciousness was 
unchanged. Then I realized what had happened. 
Pahnke had given us a placebo with a somatic kick 
to fool us. I found out later it was nicotinic acid. 

I looked up and saw that two students had 
flushed faces. They were squirming with pleased 
expressions. One of them winked at the other. He 
rose and said he was going to the toilet. The other 
red-faced student joined him. As guide, I trailed 
along. Inside the John they were exulting like happy 
conspirators. We must have got the mushroom. 
Yeah, I can feel it. We're the lucky ones. I smiled 
and kidded them about playing the placebo game. 
While we stood there the door banged open. A 
third student from our group walked in. He looked 
neither left nor right. No greetings. His eyes were 
glowing and he was smiling. He walked to the 
window and stood for a long time looking out. 
Jesus, he cried, God is everywhere. Oh the Glory of 
it! Then he walked out without a word. No social 
games with him. 

The two red-faced students looked solemn. 
Hopes dashed. 

April 1962 00 311 

It's a ridiculous ritual to run a double blind study 
using psychedelic drugs. After thirty minutes 
everyone knows what has happened, who has taken 
the sacrament. 

Just before noon Pahnke came through and had 
us all go to the small chapel. Thirty of us sat in the 
dim candlelight. Dean Howard Thurmond came in, 
robed and vested. He spoke a few words. Quietly, 
serenely. He blessed us and left. 

Then through the speakers we could hear him 
begin his three-hour service in the main chapel 
above. Prayers. Organ music. Hymns. 

It was easy to tell who had taken the psychedel- 
ics. Ten students sat attentively like good wor- 
shipers. Facing the altar. Silent. The others were 
less conventional. Some lay on the benches one 
lay on the floor. Some wandered around the chapel 
murmuring in prayer and wonderment. One 
chanted a hymn. One wandered to the altar and 
held his hands aloft. One sat at the organ bench 
and played weird, exciting chords. 

One wanted to go out. The doors to the basement 
were locked and a doorkeeper was on guard. I told 
Pahnke I'd accompany his restless mystic. We 
walked along the avenue. Cars whizzed by. I felt 
fear and moved to the street side of my charge. I 
had a fantasy he might run out in the avenue. He, 
of course, read my mind. You are so brutally aware 
of where things are at during a session. Telepathy? 

He glanced at me, as if to say, Is that the game? 
So he tried to edge by me to walk on the curb. I got 
more scared. He made a feint to run into the street. 
My paranoia had forced him into the role of pris- 
oner, seeking to escape. 

Then I caught on and laughed. Let's not play 
that silly game, I said. He nodded. We walked 
around the chapel. He was out of his mind. Con- 
fused. Struggling for meaning. What is it all about? 
Who is running the show? What am I supposed to 

We walked back to the basement. My student 
was still frightened. I kept too close to him. My 
concern alarmed him. He ran to the piano and 
banged down the lid savagely. He ran to the wall 
and grabbed a picture, holding it above his head 
ready to smash it if he were approached. 

Some would include: de- 
scent into hell and resur- 
rection, death and transfig- 
uration, the moment of 
truth, naked on the shores 
of eternity, etc. 

I seemed to live a lifetime 
of pain and tragedy as I 
saw myself stripped bare, 
and at the time seemingly 
little to fall back on to sat- 
isfy my swollen ego. 

Today, I am beginning to 
think that maybe there was 
something left after all, but 
I never want to forget a 
vision of my vainglorious 
ego that came to me in the 
midst of the experience. 

Another curious upswelling 
from my unconscious, I 
suppose, was the sense of 
the depth of my love for 
my wife and my need of her. 

312 00 Perform Miracles 

In part this was triggered by 
the spectacle of the couples 
around me. In a psycho- 
logical sense it was almost 
as if I were married for the 
first time in my life during 
the session. 

Something of this I was im- 
pelled to share with my wife 
by telephone after the ses- 

Another very basic dis- 
covery was a clear sense of 
values: I knew what was 
important in my life and 
what was less important 
more clearly than ever be- 

I sat down quickly and put my hands in the 
position of prayer and called him. He stared at me 
for a long minute. Then he relaxed. About the least 
threatening thing you can do to another human 
being is to sit down in the prayer position in front 
of him. It always works. 

He came over and sat down in front of me. I 
motioned for him to place his hands in prayer. He 
looked at me in panic and raised his fists. I looked 
in his eyes flaming in terror. Is that what hands 
are for? To destroy ... to grab . . . to hit . . . 
oh, you good Christian, have you forgotten your 
religion? Don't you remember that hands are for 
worship? For prayer? I grabbed his hands. He 
started to pull away but held on. He really liked the 
physical contact and the gentle control. Your hands 
are for prayer. Let us pray, brother. I held his 
hands tight and started chanting . . . God . . . 
Jesus Christ . . . man . . . God . . . Jesus Christ 
. . . man. . . . His body visibly relaxed. Then he 
smiled. Then he looked at my face in reverent love. 
He embraced me. I held him in my arms. About ten 
people were watching in awed curiosity. I could 
feel the warmth of his body and the trembling. He 
began to stroke my hair. His caress became sexual. 
I took his hands and placed mine around his in the 
position of prayer. Then I began chanting the 
Lord's Prayer. Our Father . . . yes, all our Fathers 
. . . who are in Heaven . . . yes, who art inside 
Heaven. Inside. I thumped my chest and his. Our 
Father who art within . . . Hallowed be thy name 
. . . yes, holy be all thy names . . . Sacred 
Fathers and Grandfathers . . . Holy ancestors. 
. . . Thanks, Holy Father, for living and dying to 
create us, and give us through seed and sperm our 
birth to life. . . . Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be 
done . . . out here on earth, in this room, here in 
Boston as it is in Heaven within. 

He was whispering the words over and over 
again. Our Father. Holy be thy name. Thy will be 
done. Then he burst into tears and sobs. He crum- 
bled to the floor. I held him while his body shook 
with the convulsive heaving. 

Then he sat up and looked at me and said, 
Thanks. I'm all right now. I Ve been a religious 

314 00 Perform Miracles 

I saw clearly how certain 
fatuous and confused ideas 
were leading me in wrong 
pathways; some of my senti- 
mentalities were pierced. 

Though ideas of God and 
Christ were not prominent 
in my experience, I have no 
doubt of the essentially reli- 
gious nature of the experi- 

I believe that a psycho- 
analysis, which only now I 
realize I needed, could not 
have done as well for me 
in helping me to face my 
own psychological naked- 
ness as the six hours un- 
der LSD. 

I think that religion will ne- 
glect the consequences of 
this powerful instrument, 
with its implications, at its 
peril. The experience re- 
calls Otto's Mysterium Tre- 
mendum. It was awesome. 


phony and a sexual freak but now I know what 
prayer is all about. 

The afternoon slowly spun itself out. No other 
scenes of disorder. Much silent meditation. Later 
hushed talking. 

By five O'clock the group was pretty well out of 
visionary terrain. Pahnke was busy collecting inter- 
views on a tape recorder. He was most conscien- 
tious about his data. 

The plan was that we would all go to my home 
for a communion supper. The psychedelic students 
were in no hurry. They wandered around smiling 
serenely and looking at flowers. The non-psyche- 
delic students were bored and impatient. 

The scene at my house was gentle and radiant. 
The trippers were still too much in it, still a little 
high and too stunned to do much except shake their 
heads in wonder and grin and say, Wow! I never 
realized. . . . 

I was in the kitchen having a celebration beer. 
Walter Pahnke bustled in. Our eyes met and we 
grinned and shook hands, laughing. 

It was like the first session at the prison. We had 
done it! We had proved once again that goodwill, 
and good motives, and trust and courage are the 
basic research tools. It was a great spiritual test for 
all of us and we would never forget that Good 
Friday afternoon of death, fear, ecstasy and rebirth. 

In the next few weeks the results of the Good 
Friday session kept feeding back. 

Pahnke had teams of interviewers (who knew 
nothing about the study) collecting the stories of 
the twenty students, rating the comments and kinds 
of religious experience. 

The results were clear-cut and consistent. The 
men who ate the mushrooms had mystic religious 
experiences. The control group didn't. 

There was proof scientific, experimental, statis- 
tical, objective. The sacred mushrooms, admini- 
stered in a religious setting to people who were 
religiously motivated, did produce that rare, deep 
experience which men have sought for thousands of 
years through sacraments, through flagellation, 
prayer, renunciation. 

April 1962 00 315 

Psychedelic drugs were sacraments. 

To anyone whose values are spiritual, this study 
had to be the most important research of the last 
few thousand years. Galileo, Newton, Einstein, 
Oppenheimer developed theories and methods for 
understanding and controlling external energies. 
What produces motion? How can motive power be 
improved, accelerated? Discoveries of dubious 
benefit in their application. 

But the scientific demonstration that internal 
energies, ecstasy, revelation, spiritual union, no 
longer need be accidental but can be produced for 
and by him who seeks this can't be underesti- 

You would expect that every priest, minister, 
rabbi, theologian, philosopher, scholar, or just plain 
God-seeking man, woman, and child, in the country 
would drop their secular games and follow up the 
implications of the Good Friday study. 

But you know what happened? The same reac- 
tion that has greeted every new spiritual discovery 
in history. Disapproval. Apathy. Opposition. Why? 

The trustees of the Divinity School moved to 
silence Dr. Walter Clark. But they couldn't. This 
gentle, thoughtful man consulted his conscience 
and refused to keep silent. But follow-up studies at 
the Seminary were stopped, and the divine enthusi- 
asm of the divinity students was blocked and dis- 

Walter Pahnke got his thesis uneasily approved, 
and his degree was awarded. Walter went to Ger- 
many on a fellowship and arranged to have his first 
conversation with God in a mental hospital in the 
Rhineland. He had a clinical examination room 
converted into a shrine and got a Yale theologian to 
be his guide, and played sacred music on his record 
player, and to the shocked amazement of the Ger- 
man psychiatrists (who are using LSD to produce 
dirty psychoanalytic experiences), Walter made the 
eternal voyage and laughed in gratitude and wept 
in reverence. And only then, a year later, did he 
realize the wondrous miracle he had wrought in 
Marsh Chapel. 

But he wasn't allowed to continue his work. His 

From The Epic of Gilga- 

So Utnapishtim spoke, Gil- 
gamesh, you came here, a 
man wearied out, you have 
worn yourself out; what 
shall I give you to carry you 
back to your own country? 

Gilgamesh, I shall reveal a 
secret thing, it is a mystery 
of the gods that I am tell- 
ing you. There is a plant 
that grows under the water, 
it has a prickle like a thorn, 
like a rose; it will wound 
your hands, but if you suc- 
ceed in taking it, then your 
hands will hold that which 
restores his lost youth to a 

When Gilgamesh heard this 
he opened the sluices so 
that a sweet-water current 
might carry him out to the 
deepest channel; he tied 
heavy stones to his feet and 
they dragged him down to 
the water-bed. 

316 00 Perform Miracles 

There he saw the plant 
growing; although it pricked 
him he took it in his hands; 
then he cut the heavy 
stones to his feet and the 
sea carried him and threw 
him on to the shore. 

Gilgamesh said to Urshan- 
abi the ferryman, Come 
here, and see this marvel- 
ous plant. By its virtue a 
man may win back all his 
former strength. 

I will take it to Uruk of the 
strong walls; there I will 
give it to the old men to 
eat. Its names shall be The 
old men are young again; 
and at last I shall eat it my- 
self and have back all my 
lost youth. 

Gilgamesh saw a well of 
cool water and he went 
down and bathed; but deep 
in the pool there was lying 
a serpent, and the serpent 
sensed the sweetness of the 
flower. It rose out of the 
water and snatched it away, 
and immediately it sloughed 
its skin and returned to the 

subsequent requests for government approval to 
repeat his study have been denied. The last thing 
the federal Food and Drug Administration seems to 
want is the production of religious experiences. 

Dr. Goddard, the aggressive, hard-driving politi- 
cal medic who runs the F.D.A., derided claims that 
LSD produces psychological or spiritual benefits. 
Pure bunk, said Goddard. This from a government 
official who had never taken or given a psychedelic 
chemical, nor observed its effects. How can our 
country's top pharmacological commissar blatantly 
reject scientific data which doesn't fit his atheistic 

The results of and the reactions to Pahnke's 
experiment raised many perplexing questions and 
led to new appraisals. It became clear to me that 
religion played a greater part in American life than 
I had realized. Indeed it seemed obvious that every 
expression of American society however secular, 
materialistic, scientific, or agnostic it may appear 
is based on deeply held unconscious religious as- 
sumptions. America is an immature, irrational, 
superstitious, materialistic, priest-ridden, intolerant, 
religious state. 

General Motors is a religious institution with its 
priests, rituals, gods, saints, devils. General Motors 
worships mechanical power and money. General 
Motors is white Protestant. Jews, Catholics, Ne- 
groes, and Hindus need not apply to become high 

Harvard University is a completely religious in- 
stitution. It worships intellectual power and dog- 
matically clings to academic taboos and empty 
rituals. Harvard is white Judeo-Calvinist. Cath- 
olics, Negroes, and Hindus, need not apply to 
become high priests. 

Science itself is a religion. Fanatically defending 
its superstitious rites and areas of priestly preroga- 
tive. White Judeo-Protestant. Negroes, Catholics, 
and Hindus just don't seem to become high priests 
in science. 

The American government state and federal is 
a monolithic religious structure. Catholic-Protestant. 

This insight helps explain the instinctive revul- 

April 1962 00 317 

sion of the American intellectual-marketplace-scien- 
tific establishment to the psychedelic sacraments. 

There are few Americans over the age of twenty- 
five who are not totally committed to a dogmatic 
religious way of life and belief. To admit evidence 
(however scientific) which threatens the theologi- 
cal structure is intolerable. Morally unbearable. 
Philosophically impossible, because when the 
superstitious religious structure is threatened, life 
becomes meaningless. General Motors defends its 
God. Harvard defends its God. Scientists defend 
their God. 

So the hostile reaction to Pahnke's experiment 
and to our prison research and to our psychedelic 
studies were easily understood. We were nothing 
less than heretics. Tread warily, O prophet, when 
you move onto primitive religious ground. 

Then Gilgamesh sat down 
and wept, the tears ran 
down his face, and he took 
the hand of Urshanabi; O 
Urshanabi, was it for this 
that I toiled with my hands, 
is it for this I have wrung 
out my heart's blood? For 
myself I have gained noth- 
ing; not I, but the beast of 
the earth has joy of it now. 

In this case retreat is the right course, and it is 
through retreat that success is achieved. But suc- 
cess consists in being able to carry out the retreat 
correctly. Retreat is not to be confused with flight. 
Flight means saving oneself under any circum- 
stances, whereas retreat is a sign of strength. We 
must be careful not to miss the right moment while 
we are in full possession of power and position. 
Then we shall be able to interpret the signs of the 
time before it is too late and to prepare for provi- 
sional retreat instead of being drawn into a des- 
perate life-and-death struggle. ( I Ching IV ) 

Already the stream has car- 
ried it twenty leagues back 
to the channels where I 
found it. I found a sign and 
now I have lost it. Let us 
leave the boat on the bank 
and go. 

The miracle of Marsh Chapel was not just a scien- 
tific study; it was authentic spiritual ceremony. 
And like every valid Good Friday experiment our 
spring solstice death-rebirth-celebration (because it 
worked) invited excommunication and persecu- 
tion. We were involved, not in a controversial re- 
search project, but in a classic religious struggle. 

The arena for this struggle is always within. The 
stakes of the game were no longer academic pres- 
tige or scientific renown but the souls of the pro- 

The psychedelic drugs are sacraments, and like 
all sacraments that work, they demand your all. 

This too was the work of 
Gilgamesh, the king, who 
knew the countries of the 
world. He was wise, he saw 
mysteries and knew secret 
things, he brought us a tale 
of the days before the flood. 

318 00 Perform Miracles 

He went a long journey, was 
weary, worn out with labour, 
and returning engraved on 
a stone the whole story. 


They demand that you live up to the revelation. 

Like all sacraments, the psychedelic drugs 
threaten society and that part of your own mind 
that is attached to the current social taboos. 

Like all new sacraments, the psychedelics re- 
quire a new religion. 


It is not I who seek the young fool; 
The young fool seeks me. 
At the first oracle I inform him. 
If he asks two or three times, it is 

If he importunes, I give him no 

Perseverance furthers. 




After Your Illumination, 
Why Come Down? 








June 1962 3 

Guide: Krishna ^ 

Oracle: II O 

The Receptive W 



The Receptive, Earth H 

The Receptive, Earth 

T/ie earth's condition is receptive devotion. 
Thus the superior man who has breadth of 

Carries the outer world. 


TRIP 16 

Timothy Leary 

Start your own Religion 

Drop-out detach yourself 
from the external social 
drama which is as dehy- 
drated and ersatz as TV. 

Turn-on Find a sacrament 
which returns you to the 
temple of God, your own 
body. Go out of your mind. 
Get high. 

Tune-in Be reborn. Drop- 
back-in to express it. Start 
a new sequence of be- 
havior that reflects your 

Actions which are con- 
scious expressions of the 
turn-on, tune-in, drop-out 
rhythm are religious. 

The wise person devotes 
his life exclusively to the 
religious search for there- 
in is found the only ecstasy, 
the only meaning. 


By the spring of 1962 we had been pushed by social 
pressure towards the classic solutions of the new 
religious cult. Exile and monastic retreat. There 
were twenty to thirty of us who were dedicating 
most of our energies to the sacrament but it was 
all upstream against the instinctive resistance of the 
culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A., was no 
place to start a new religion. 
Picture yourself afloat on a river 
It was actually as unfair to do research on the 
visionary experience at Harvard as it would be to 
expect the Vatican to sponsor missionary work for 
the Lutheran Church, or to ask Cardinal Cushing 
to support experiments on effective aphrodisiacs. 
Somebody calls you, you answer quite lowly 
We knew we had to leave Harvard. But where to 
go? Like spiritual pilgrims of the past we needed a 
deserted spot where life would be inexpensive and 
free from religious persecution. We consulted the 
atlas. Where on this shrinking planet would a small 
group of God-seekers find land and liberty? 
Picture yourself in a brain in a station 
Then I remembered the flight from Mexico in 
i960 with Dick Alpert. The quiet fishing village on 
the Pacific. What was its name? My finger moved 
up the map north from Acapulco. There. Zihua- 
With artichoke trees and muskmelon skies 
So, in April 1962, Peggy Hitchcock and Richard 
Alpert and I flew to Mexico City and then took a 
twin-engined plane to Zihuatenejo. The landing 
strip is a tricky one. The plane loops down from the 
high greengulch mountain passes of Guerrero State 
and zooms over the little village of brown wooden 
huts and then out over the broad, blue bay ringed 
with green hills, and circles back snaking its way 


June 1962 00 321 

through the valley to make a sudden base-leg turn 
just over the concrete strip. 
Magazine taxis appear on the shore 
There were no large homes or villas in the town. 
Just one hotel at the end of a dirt road which 
highcircled the bay, south of the village. The mana- 
ger of the hotel was a dignified, slender, soft- 
spoken Swiss gentleman. There was no business 
during the summer. It was very possible that the 
owner would close the hotel to the public during 
July and August and rent it to us as a summer 

Suddenly no one is there at the turnstile 
Letters and funds passed through the mails, and 
in June I left for Mexico to set up the hotel for the 
summer. Richard was to take charge of my house 
and make it a center for receiving and transmitting 
the pilgrims. 
Where puppet-show people eat cantaloupe pies 
In Mexico City I contacted Parsons and Pat 
Bolero. Parsons was a sociologist who had lived in 
Mexico for several years. They had been turned-on 
by one of our Harvard missionaries and were both 
ecstatically converted to the wonders of psilocybin. 
I invited them to join us in Zihuatenejo. They, in 
turn, invited me to come to their country home in 
Tepoztlan to run a session for them. 
Everyone smiles as you drift past the hours 
There were a few free days before we took over 
the lease on the hotel in Zihuatenejo, so I agreed to 
guru their trip. 
Climb on the top with your head in the crowds 
We arrived at Tepoztlan after sunset. I re- 
membered the visit to the McClellands' two sum- 
mers before, and how much had happened and 
how much I had changed since the last time I left 
that dark, unyielding valley. 

The atmosphere of Tepoztlan hit as soon as we 
drove into the plaza. You were far removed from 
the twentieth century. The few stores lighted by 
candle and kerosene. The hulking shadow ruins of 
the old church. The high cliff walls. Enormous, 
rugged rock-carved stage set, waiting. The place 
was alive, dark stone eyes watching, vined tendril 

How to turn-on. 

To turn-on is to detach 
from the rigid addictive fo- 
cus on the fake-prop TV 
studio-set and to refocus 
on the natural energies 
within the body. 

1. Come to your senses 
focus on sensory energies. 

2. Resurrect your body 
focus on somatic energies. 

3. Drift down cellular mem- 
ory tracks beyond the 
body's space/time focus 
on cellular energies. 

4. Decode the genetic code. 

Tuming-on is a complex, 
demanding, frightening, con- 
fusing process. It requires 
diligent yoga. 

Tuming-on requires a guide 
who can center you at the 
TV-stage-prop level and at 
the sensory, somatic, cellu- 
lar and molecular levels. 

When you turn-on remem- 
ber: You are not a naughty 
boy getting high for kicks. 

322 oo Why Come Down? 

You are a spiritual voyager 
furthering the most ancient, 
noble quest of man. When 
you turn-on you shed the 
fake-prop TV studio and 
costume and join the holy 
dance of the visionaries. 
You leave LBJ and Bob 
Hope; you join Lao Tse, 
Christ, Blake. Never un- 
derestimate the sacred 
meaning of the turn-on. 

To turn-on you need a sac- 
rament. A sacrament is a 
visible external thing which 
turns the key to the inner 
doors. A sacrament must 
bring about bodily changes. 
A sacrament flips you out of 
the TV-studio game and 
harnesses you to the two- 
billion-year-old flow inside. 

A sacrament which works is 
dangerous to the establish- 
ment which runs the fake- 
prop TV studio and to that 
part of your mind which is 
hooked to the studio game. 

Each TV-prop society pro- 
duces exactly that body- 
changing sacrament which 
will flip-out the mind of the 

ears listening. Waiting for the next itinerant human 
road-show troupe. And no compromise. No pre- 
tense. No gesture of recognition for the intruding 
European game. Implacable, neutral, obsidian dis- 

Styrafoam flowers of purple and green 

Powering over your head 

We drove along rutted roads past darkened huts, 
the car jolting, the headlights tracing an eerie 
course through tunnels of vegetation. We were 
driving right out of civilization down some leafy 
time tube into the Aztec past. 

We ran through the rain into the rambling one- 
story villa. There was no electricity. Candles flick- 
ered on the adobe walls along the carved wooden 
beams. Rectangles of color gleamed from paintings. 

Waiting to take you to play 

We started a fire and sat by the hearth. I brought 
out a glass jar of LSD sugar paste which Michael 
Hollingshead had given me as a farewell present. 
The atmosphere of the villa seeped through the 
windows. The sacred vale of tribal legend. Home of 
the Gods. Zapata, the pure Robin-Hood revolution- 
ary, had swept down from the mountain and 
sacked the houses of the rich and quartered his 
horses in the church. Centuries of blood and sacri- 
fice and passion and terror and struggle. The place 
trembled with old vibrations. You felt close to 
powerful energies. Untouched by the metal hum of 
machinery. You felt flesh, seed, and nameless forces. 

And you're gone 

Pat Bolero shuddered and whispered something 
to Parsons. He looked at me. Pat is frightened and 
wants you to take the sacrament with us. 

Climb on the top with your head in the crowds 

I said I would. It often happens this way. The 
unplanned challenge. The time to die chosen, not 
by your mind, but by the flow of events. 

Today the sacrament is 
LSD. New sacraments are 
coming along. 

Applied to human affairs, therefore, what the 
hexagram indicates is action in conformity with the 
situation. The person in question is not in an inde- 
pendent position, hut is acting as an assistant. This 
means that he must achieve something. It is not his 
task to try to lead that would only make him lose 

June 1962 00 323 

the way but to let himself be led. If he knows how 
to meet fate with an attitude of acceptance, he is 
sure to find the right guidance. The superior man 
lets himself be guided; he does not go ahead 
blindly, but learns from the situation what is de- 
manded of him and then follows this intimation 
from fate. ( I Ching II ) 

And so, once again, the guru was to become 
disciple, the leader was to be led. I was overdue for 
a powerful trip. All that spring I had been guiding 
pilgrims, going up with them but never all the way 
for me, always lagging back a little to be there for 
the customers. Being influenced by their visions. 
Sharing their confusions but always keeping my 
mind focused and responsible. 

I was shaken up by the struggles of our spring- 
time religious revival. I was disturbed by the heavy 
Christian structure, perplexed by the holding back. 
The inhibiting, social strength of the Christian 
Church and its power to bind. Religion. Their fear 
of God and their fear of God's voice and their fear 
and guilt of breaking loose and their fear of sus- 
pending, even for a few minutes, the middle-class 
television set. 

With cellophane porters with looking glass spies 

I needed a complete, whack-out, liberating ses- 
sion to untangle from the Protestant social web, so 
sterile and anti-sense and anti-Christ, so false to the 
memory of that half-naked barefoot sensual Jew 
visionary prophet who sat on the floor to wash dirty 
feet and then stood up to the Roman Empire. 

That spring had been exciting and dramatic and 
deeply moving to participate in the sacred mo- 
ments of so many ministers. But there was a nag- 
ging residual of disappointment in those good, 
honest, liberal, generous Protestants. 

They had lost the fire somehow. They had lost 
the pulse. Their thing was dying and they knew it. 
The Protestants just weren't religious. Their great 
thing was their social instinct, their sense of equal- 
ity. But in their protest against the superstition and 
authoritarian priesthood they had lost the magic. 
When they threw out the statues and the incense 
and the robes and the chanting (all the sensory 

Sacraments wear out. They 
become part of the social 
TV-studio game. Treasure 
LSD while it still works. In 
fifteen years it will be tame, 
socialized, and routine. 

You cannot stay tumed-on 
all the time. You cannot 
stay any place all the time. 
That's a law of evolution. 

After" the revelation it is 
necessary to drop-back-in, 
return to the fake-prop TV 
studio and initiate small 
changes which reflect the 
glory and meaning of the 
turn-on. You change the 
way you move, the way you 
dress; you change your cor- 
ner of the TV-studio society! 

You begin to look like a 
happy saint! Your home 
slowly becomes a shrine. 
Slowly, gently you start 
seed transformations around 
you. Psychedelic art. Psy- 
chedelic style. Psychedelic 
music. Psychedelic dance. 

The directors of the TV 
studio do not want you to 
live a religious life. They 
will apply every pressure 
(including prison) to keep 
you in their game. 

Your own mind, which has 
been corrupted and neuro- 
logically damaged by years 
of education in fake-prop 
TV-studio games, will also 
keep you trapped in the 

324 00 Why Come Down? 

A group liberation cult is re- 

You must form that most 
ancient and sacred of hu- 
man structures the clan. A 
clan or cult is a small group 
of human beings organized 
around a religious goal. (If 
you don't belong to a clan, 
you are a computer.) 

The flow of energy 


speed of light 


beyond fear 


beyond desire 


this mystery of mysteries 

through this gate 

of all wonder 

The sex cakra 


Can you float through the 
universe of your body and 
not lose your way? 

sacraments), it became social and rational and 

There was the strong need for some sort of 
channel for the religious energies we were releas- 
ing. And it was obvious that the Christian structure 
was too rigid and fixed. The Christian model just 
couldn't take the charge. To turn-on an American 
Christian to the two-billion-year divine process was 
like harnessing a million-watt electric generator to a 
crystal set. The flimsy, modern, mythless, rootless 
American Christian Church just blew its fuse and 
disconnected the impulse. And the fuse was the 
familiar rationalization business. A week after the 
session they'd still be glowing and God-like, but 
after a month they were sinking back into their 
routines. Forgetting their antiquity and divine mis- 
sions. Questioning their visions. They heard the 
word of God and promptly forgot it. 

Look for the girl with the moon in her sighs 

The new revelation demands a new body. And 
the embryonic processes were astir that summer, 
beginning to uncoil before the fire in the villa in the 
valley of Tepoztlan. 

And she's gone 

The darkgreen valley of Tepoztlan seemed cen- 
turies removed from the Union Theological Semi- 

Follow her down to the bridge by a castle 

We meditated for a while and then I picked up 
the bottle and dug out a heaping tablespoonful for 
Pat and one for ParsOns and one for myself. Pat 
was very nervous, so I took a strand of sacred 
beads from my neck and put them on her. This will 
guide you if you get lost or frightened. You never 
knew how much you were getting with Michael's 
material and it was soon obvious that we had taken 
a generous loving spoonful. 

There was only the sound of the fire crackling 
sharper and sharper. An electric hush enveloped 
the room. It was a perfect Zen moment. I was dead. 
The Timothy Leary game was suspended and the 
needle point of consciousness was free to move into 
any one of thirteen billion nerve cells or down any 
one of a billion billion genetic-code networks. 

June 1962 00 325 

That grow so inedibly high 

First the dial swung to the sensory. The noise of 
the fire was the sound of every energy transforma- 
tion. The crackling of galactic suns. 

Then the dial swung to olfactory sensations. The 
room was filled with spaghetti tangles of smell 
tapes and, dog-like, I sorted through them. I could 
see each distinctive fume of scent. The hodgepodge 
of chemical belts spilling out of the kitchen. Dozens 
of molecule threads organic decomposing, per- 
fumed from the bathroom, pouring into the living 
room like mountain streams rushing to the lake. I 
could see each rivulet of odor rising from Pat's 
warm steaming female body. And from Parsons' 
malehood. Each object in the room emitted its 
cloud of vapors fabrics, molds, dyes, leather, 

Then consciousness buried itself in tissued 
memories. A rapid newsreel sequence of my life. 
Early childhood picture albums. Model A Fords. 
Cotton candy at the beach. 

It was very dark and the wind howled terribly 
around her, but Dorothy found she was riding quite 
easily. After the first few whirls around, and one 
other time when the house tipped badly, she felt as 
if she were being rocked gently, like a baby in a 
cradle. (The Wizard of Oz) 

The loneliness of long nights in the attic bedroom 
watching the headlights of cars approaching the 
house, turning at the corner and disappearing, red 
taillights winking. Electronic tissue hum of the 
neural film projector. 

Then I heard Pat moving, and her powerful 
image-energy machine flooded mine and I spun 
into her head. Gasping marshmallow flesh-fluff 
erotic jumping rapture. 

Rumble seat sex. The dirty, skirty thirties. Who 
. . . means your happiness . . . who . . . will 
you answer yes . . . who . . . well you ought to 
guess . . . who ... no one but you. . . . Pat's 
breath, whisky scented, fragile perfume of life 
. . . breath, air, sighing, air equals orgasm, air is 

Sudden revelation into workings of oxygen mo- 

Can you lie quietly 


in the slippery union 

of male and female? 

Warm wet dance of genera- 

Endless ecstasies 


Can you offer your stamen 
trembling in the meadow for 
the electric penetration of 
pollen while birds sing? 

Wait soft feathered, 
quivering, in the thicket 
while birds sing? 

Can you coil serpentine 
while birds sing? 

Become two cells merging? 

Slide together in molecule 

Can you, murmuring, 





Ethereal pool without source 

Empty bowl of radiance 
full of universe and star 




ancestor of all things 

326 00 Why Come Down? 


All sharpness 


All wheels 

glide along 

soft tracks 

of light 

Ethereal pool without source 

Preface to life 

Remember, you are ba- 
sically a primate. You are 
designed by the two-billion- 
year blueprint to live in a 
small band. 

You cannot accept the po- 
litical or spiritual leadership 
of anyone you cannot 
touch, con-spire (breathe) 
with, worship with, get high 

Your clan must be centered 
around a shrine and a to- 
tem spiritual energy source. 
To the clan you dedicate 
your highest loyalty, and 
to you the clan offers its 
complete protection. 

But the clan must be ori- 
entated toward religious 
goals. Religion means be- 
ing tuned-in to the natural 
rhythm. Religion is the turn- 
on, tune-in, drop-out pro- 

nopoly. In the year 1888, British scientists, members 
of the Huxley family, discover that oxygen supply 
of earth is failing. Life, ecstasy, consciousness is 
oxygen. British aristocrats secretly bottle remaining 
vapors of air and hide it. Air is replaced by syn- 
thetic gas which possesses no life or consciousness, 
keeps people alive as plastic doll robots. Plump, 
mocking, effeminate, patronizing Englishmen have 
control of precious oxygen elixir of life which they 
dole out in doses for their god-like amusement and 
pleasure. LSD is air. 

The rest of the human race is doomed to three-D- 
headmill-plastic repetition. Trapped. Oh wise 
brown Ann who saw it all. I'd kill myself to end the 
meaningless rat race but I'm afraid that wouldn't 
stop it. It would just spin out new and deader IBM 
sequences. My flesh, Pat and Parsons, the world 
was turning to dry brittle hardness. 

Science-fiction horror. Hell! I wanted to shriek 
and run from the room for help. How to get back to 
life. Center. Pray. Love. Touch. Contact. Human 
contact. Parsons, sloppy Jewish belly showing. Pat, 
swollen Jewish mother. I held on to her fat arm, 
burrowed into their body hive. We huddle in a 
heap on the floor in front of the fire, softly breath- 
ing together. 

Spinning through sexual cellular scrapbooks. The 
eternal dance of male and female. The restless 
panting search. Sniffing search. Where is she? 
When will she come? The shock of contact. Soft 
flesh furred, scaled, moist, merging. Ah there! 
Frantic flailing, jumping, convulsive moaning 
union. Breathless. Breathless. Chuckling she- 
wisdom. What else is important, you foolish 
desiccated creature, but this fire dance of life 

The murmuring giggling gooey: what else is 
immortal, oh dry brittle, save this moist buried 
flesh kiss? 

Pat suddenly called in terror. I opened my eyes. 
The fire throwing up jewel flames, colored shadows 
on Pat's anguished face. Parsons! Parsons! Where 
are you? He was lying on the Mexican rug, arms 
thrown out. He roused and smiled tenderly. Here. 
Everywhere. With you, love. He reached up and 

June 1962 00 327 

pulled her down on him. She whispered and mur- 
mured. He stroked her long black hair and hummed 
ancient cradle songs. 

I sank back into delightful tissue recollections- 
muscle memories. I could feel each muscle in my 
shoulders and legs swelling, pulsing with power. 
Feel the hair growing on my limbs and the elon- 
gated dog-wolf foot-pad legs loping and graceful, 
prairie freedom, the unspeakable delight of move- 
ment, fiber excitement. Fierce ecstatic mammalian 
memories. And life, animal light, radiating, churn- 
ing. Life force uncoiling. Hindu flute call. Life. 
Light. Incandescence. The high-tide, flame-wave, 
surging blood-hot current of life. 

And then death. Heavy, cold immobility creeping 
up my body. Oh God. Now be careful how you lie. 
Your posture now will be frozen into a mountain 
marble landscape statue. Be careful of every mo- 
ment of posture because at some moment the sud- 
den click of death comes, and your last gesture is 
your permanent tombstone statue. Click, the last 
permanent still picture. The cosmic game of freeze. 
I was paralyzing into sprawled appalachian dis- 
order, geological pressures on every muscle (you 
remember all those Greek myths of metamorphosis, 
don't you?). So this is death. Good-bye to animal 
mobility, cellular pulsation. Now the elderly ele- 
mental mineral consciousness takes over. Had you 
forgotten? Rocks are aware. Inorganic matter is 
involved in energy changes, structural excitements, 
evolvings, pressured sculptings. Inorganic matter- 
rocks, cliffs, valleys, mountains are alive and wise. 
Their geological squirming, breathing movements 
are older, stronger, more all-seeing than the trivial 
dances of cellular life. The eternal moist erotic 
friction of water and land. The tidal caress. The 
tender leaf -veined carving of rivers on the washed 
breast of earth. 

For millennia I lay in geological trance. Forests 
grew on my flanks, rains came, continental ecsta- 
sies. Great slow heaving supporter of life. Vishnu 
sleeps and then from my bowel-center-navel out 
grew the long slender green limb climbing up from 
the white-milk ocean of formlessness and com- 
pleted the lotus blossom of awakedness. 


Drift, drift along your body's 
soft swampland while warm 
yellow mud sucks lazily 


Feel each cell in your body 
intertwine, merging in wet 
rainbow serpent-coil gasp- 
ing orgasm 


Feel the thudding motor of 
time pulsing life along the 
red network 


Gently, until you are as 
warm and soft as an infant 


Bring fire blood flowing into 
the white rooms of your 


Radiate golden light into the 
four corners of creation 


Can you float through the 
universe of your body and 
not lose your way? 

Can you rest 
dormant seed-light 
buried in moist earth? 

Can you drift 
in soft tissue swamp? 

328 00 Why Come Down? 

Can you sink 
into your dark 
fertile marsh? 

Can you dissolve softly? 

Can you slowly spiral down 
the great central drain? 


All in Heaven 


on earth below 

Is a crystal fabric 
delicate sacred 
gossamer web 

Grabbing hands 
shatter it 

Watch closely 

this shimmering mosaic 


I opened my eyes. I was in heaven. Illumination. 
Every object in the room was a radiant structure of 
atomic-god-particles. Radiating. Matter did not 
exist. There was just this million-matrix lattice web 
of energies. Shimmering. Alive. Interconnected in 
space-time. Everything hooked up in a cosmic 
dance. Fragile. Indestructible. 

And the incredible shattering discovery. Con- 
sciousness controlled it all. Or (to say it more 
accurately), all was consciousness. 

I was staggered by the implication. All creation 
lay in front of me. I could live every life that had 
ever been lived, think every thought that had ever 
been thought. An endless variety of ecstatic expe- 
rience spiraled out around me. I had taken the God- 

I was dazed by the infinite permutations that 
offered themselves. Relive the life of Augustus 
Caesar. Relive the life of an illiterate untouchable 
in the squalor of an oriental city. Lives of history, 
lives of tedium. 

A sudden thought. Now that this breakthrough 
of consciousness had occurred, a new level of har- 
mony and love was available. I must bring my 
family, my friends to this new universe. 

How simple and yet we almost missed it. Now 
that it's been done we can never lose it. How 
strange that I was the one to do it. And the endless 
possibilities. Each person had an endless supply of 
DNA memory file-cards collected during their tour 
down-there. The there world was a stage to create 
and collect fresh experience memory cards now 
available for everyone up here in heaven. 

I called tenderly to Pat and Parsons. Hey. Isn't 
this incredible? Look. I waved my hand at the 
vibrating room. We are here, we've made it. Isn't it 

They looked up puzzled. 

We've got to bring our children here. Our 
friends. George. Richard. Peggy. Aldous and Laura. 
It's heaven. 

They nodded. Parsons jumped up and began 
talking about God. He suddenly became a crazed, 
face-twisted Southern fundamentalist minister, 
preaching about conversion. Listen to me, brother, 

June 1962 00 329 

weve got to preach the word. Tell people about the 
second coming. It's here. Let them think we are 
crazy. We don't care. Shout the word out! His voice 
rose and the cords in his turkey-neck strained and 
his eyes bulged. I was scared. I could see that he 
would ruin everything by acting so nutty. He was 
showing us how false and fanatic the mystic vision 
can become if you play it out in the old game. 

Then he turned on me. Attack. Brother Tim, you 
don't believe. You are holding back. I'll denounce 
you as a false prophet, Brother Tim. 

I beckoned up to him. Sit down, Parsons. Here 
and now. Have peace. I put my head in his lap. 
Contact. I could feel him soften. Pat reached over 
and pulled both of us on to her body. My face was 
on her breast. Slosh. Slosh. Clockwork machinery 
of nature. Her soft voice murmured sea songs. We 
merged together. 

I got scared and sat up. I was losing myself in 
the warm ooze. To taste the sugar or become the 
sugar? Parsons wrapped his arm around me. We 
three are one. There, there Brother Tim. You'll 
never be alone again. The three of us, we'll always 
take care of each other. We were a triangular soul- 
fucking unit. Endless combinations. Pat is the 
ocean. Om. Om. Slosh. Slosh. All is well. Human 
empires rise and fall. Pat is the ocean. Parsons and 
I are huge continental reef-lands. Endless play. The 
three-in-one theme repeated. We must never lose 
this Holy Trinity. I want to go outside but Parsons 
holds me. We three are one. 

We sat in a triangle. Ancient geometry of com- 
munication. Holy Trinity. Pat was all Goddess. Just 
that. The essence of all women. Parsons was a 
brown, smooth-rubbed Hindu. Wise, experienced 
priest of the ceremony. We were poised serenely, 
rotating like galactic systems intricately related. 
In harmony. A trinity of awareness. One mind in 
three bodies. Three minds in one body. 

I spun down Parsons' time-ladder, became that 
Midwestern Jewish boy tending his father's store, 
fled from Russian pogroms, swung, long-bearded 
Polish rebbe, to the Hassidic dance, slid down into 
old racial flesh tanks, blubbery bushels of sweating, 
lardy tissue, writhing in some subterranean wet 

Open naked eye 





I've been blind 

all my life 

to this radiance 

Retinal mandala 

swamp mosaic of 

rods and cones 

Light rays 

hurtle into retina 

My cross scope 

tell a scope 

retinal scripture 

vibrate to trembling 

web of light 

merge with the scene 

slide smiling 

down retinal whirlpool 

slide smiling 

through central 

needle point 

This is it 

The seed moves so slowly 
and serenely 

Moment to moment 

That it appears inactive 

The garden at sunrise 

The quiet breath of twilight 

Moment to moment to mo- 

When man is in tune with 
this blissful rhythm 

The ten thousand forms 
flourish without effort 

330 00 Why Come Down? 


it is all so simple 

each next moment. . . . 

This is it! 

Suddenly you discover you 
have dropped-out. 

Drop-out means exactly 
that: drop-out. Ninety-nine 
percent of the activity of 
ninety-nine percent of Amer- 
icans goes into robot per- 
formances on the TV-studio 
stage. Fake. Unnatural. 

To drop-out you must form 
your own religion. 

The drop-out, turn-on, tune- 
in rhythm is most naturally 
done in small groups of 
family members, lovers, and 
seed friends. 

body chamber, fetid, bladder-goiter- Yiddish larval 
center, the life-death bank. Here in this fungal 
jungle was the intersection-point of life-death, the 
soul bank. The fleshquarters seed exchange center. 
The tissue market. Relentless trading on the genetic 
ticker-tape. The slimy reincarnation pool. Un- 
attached souls slipping in and out of naked, mucus- 
covered bodies. The ultimate test of human caritas. 
Can you yield, surrender, join? Or will you hold 

Owens said, the heart beat isn't coming. It isn't 
. . . wait, wait. There it is . . . the aperture was 
gaping, the rush of blood was coming, and overtak- 
ing them was the gigantic bar-room-m-m of the 

The tidal wave of blood caught up with the 
Proteus hurtling forward at breakneck velocity. 
( Fantastic Voyage ) 

Horror! My flesh is decomposing, merging with a 
million strange bodies, tentacled union, a moss- 
mattress fibered organic connection with the steamy, 
odorous, saggy corpulence of an alien race. I was 
loosening, losing separate identity. Being swal- 
lowed up. My heart beating out precious blood 
which gushed into the racial cell-soil warming it, 
bathing it, feeding this remorseless Jewish life- 
cancer. My blood! My life's blood bleeding out for 
a strange enigmatic smiling, beaked-nose dark race, 
older and wiser. Help! Could I pull back? Save 
myself, rending, tearing the vegetative fibers that 
joined me? 

The ultimate test of yielding. Merge. Give. Sur- 
render. Here, drink my blood. Take my body. My 
fibers snaking into the moist kidney bowel cushion 
of the greater process. 

Here in the bottom of the flesh pit is the point of 
seed decision. Can you open your billioned-tenta- 
cled cell-body and let it merge with another? 

It is like this. Within each living creature is a 
seed center. From this seed center emerge millions 
of delicate fibers. They are rainbow-colored un- 
dulating ribbons, softly waving, tender endings, 
sensitive, photo-electric sensing instruments. Breath- 
ing in and out. 

These delicate fibers seek a contact with conge- 
nial delicate connections. Exquisitely complex yet 

332 00 Why Come Down? 

For both psychedelic and 
legal reasons you must form 
your own cult. 

Because you and your clan 
are turned-on, you will radi- 
ate energy. You will attract 
attention hostility from the 
TV establishment, enthusi- 
astic interest from rootless 
TV actors who wish to join 
your clan. Everyone ba- 
sically wants to turn-on, 
tune-in, drop-out. 

You must start your own 
religion. You are God but 
only you can discover and 
nurture your divinity. No 
one can start your religion 
for you. 

Do you wish to use mari- 
juana and LSD to get be- 
yond the TV scenario? To 
enhance creativity? As cat- 
alysts to deepen wisdom? 
To deepen meaning? 

so simple. This is the essence of energy and its 
combination. Molecules. Cells. They are not smooth- 
surfaced, rectangular, or carbon-ringed units which 
fit together like bricks. Each molecule is a heavenly 
octopus with a million floating jeweled tentacles 
hungry to merge. Driven by internal pressure, 
sexual in nature, towards union. Molecular bonding 
is the webbed merging of these multi-foliated 
tender flower machines. 

The hunger is to merge. To share and to grow. 
But the terrible price of union is to lose identity. Be 
trapped by the union. 

The soul of each human being is a soft, floating 
octopus seed center, exfoliating searching tendrils. 
Blunt, gross contact bruises. Grabbing hands 
shatter. Crude jolting contact causes these delicate 
waving soul tentacles to withdraw, encapsulate like 
some alarmed crustacean. 

In his spontaneous, natural state the human be- 
ing is a radiant sun-star-cell receiving and emitting, 
feeding and being fed by harmonious neighbors. In 
the absence of radiant, ex-foliating neighbors each 
energy center ( atomic, molecular, cellular, human ) 
withdraws, spins a hard, leathery resistive seed pod 
and waits until the warm moist radiance returns. 

I felt my filaments infiltrating the tangled web of 
Pat's and Parsons' essence bodies. I subdued the 
selfish, one-celled-fish reflex to withdraw into separ- 
rate safety. I surrendered to the ancient process and 
felt the embracing union. 

I opened my eyes. Pat and Parsons were sitting 
motionless, eyes closed. As my eyes searched their 
haloed faces their eyes opened and we looked at 
each other. And nodded. 

The session reel continued to whirl through long 
buried terrains. 

Toward dawn Pat and Parsons withdrew to their 
bed chamber. 

I sat alone and watched the aureal machinery of 
the room. The air was filled with curving color 
webs. It seemed the height of vulgarity to plod 
straight ahead through the room like a blind robot 
giant treading down forests and cities. I could 
reach up with my hands and sculpt the energy 
patterns. One could only move in smooth looping 
great arcs to keep in harmony with the vibrations. 

June 1962 00 333 

(There are at least two explanations of the phe- 
nomenon of seeing patterns in the air. The most 
audacious theory is that the energy is really there 
and that the psychedelic eye can see what the 
mind's blind eye cannot see. The more conservative 
viewpoint would locate the patterns in the capillary 
or cell-structure networks of the retina; that the 
vision is simply the eye seeing itself. The eye seeing 
the non-transparent flaws in its own transparent 
film. In any case this suggests a natural explanation 
for the strange movements of some mental patients. 
Their stereotyped motions. Their peculiar attention 
to invisibles. The expanded consciousness of the so- 
called psychotic is not hallucinatory, but tuned in 
to external or internal processes which are there. ) 

The sun had risen wh h I walked outside. 

The house was surrounded by growing creatures. 
The house was a stone raft floating in a sea of 

It was Eden. Each plant was dancing, laughing, 
a quiet network of high intensity conversation. 
Trembling. Trembling. Immediate. I followed the 
garden up slope. Japanese statues. Wise Buddh?.- 
eyes silently watched. The garden ended on a 
paved walk surrounding a swimming pool. Across 
the back wall a rocky pasture led up to the cliffs. 
On the top of the perpendicular cliff wall was the 
house of the god Tepozteco. 

Cloud-mists floated along the pasture. I was 
above the earth. It was the beginning of time. 
Eden. Above and beyond the life down there. All 
connections were severed. In fact there was the 
possibility that the neurological imprints called 
Mexico City and America no longer even existed I 
peered across the wall along the rocky pasture to 
look for human beings. No one. 

There was no visible evidence that the twentieth 
century existed. 

I listened. No sounds of machinery. Bird cries. 
The rustle of the breeze across the garden. The 
crowing of cocks. The Timothy Leary game now 
existed only as a memory. I was liberated. Free to 
do anything I chose. Stay in the garden. Stay in 
Tepoztlan. Go back down and wander through the 
planet as anyone I chose to be. Pick a role. Select a 

If so, you will be helped by 
making explicit the religious 
nature of your psychedelic 
activities. To give meaning 
to your own script, to clarify 
your relationships with 
others, and to cope with 
the present legal setup, you 
will do well to start your 
own religion. 

First decide with whom you 
will make the voyage of dis- 
covery. If you have a fam- 
ily, certainly you will in- 
clude them. If you have 
close friends, you will cer- 
tainly want to include them. 
The question with whom 
do I league for spiritual dis- 
covery is a fascinating ex- 

Next, sit down with your 
spiritual companions and 
put on a page the plan for 
your trip. 

You will learn a lot about 
yourself and your com- 
panions. You will see where 
you are and where you are 

334 00 Why Come Down? 

In defining the goal of your 
religion, you need not use 
conventional religious lan- 
guage. You don't have to 
make your spiritual journey 
sound religious. Religion 
cannot be pompous and 
high-flown. Religion is con- 
sciousness-expansion, cen- 
tered in the body and de- 
fined exactly the way it 
sounds best to you. Don't 
be intimidated by Caesar's 
Hollywood fake versions of 

If life has a meaning for you 
beyond the TV-studio game, 
you are religious! Spell it 

Develop your own rituals 
and costumes. Robes or 
gray-flannel suits, amulets 
or tattoos. You will eventu- 
ally find yourself engaged in 
a series of sacred moments 
which feel right to you. Step 
by step, all your actions will 
take on a sacramental 
meaning. Inevitably you will 
create a ritual sequence for 
each sense organ and for 
each of the basic energy 
exchanges eating, bath- 
ing, mating, etc. 

Reality and the addiction to any one reality is a 
tissue-thin neurological fragility. At the height of a 
visionary experience it is crystal-clear that you can 
change completely. Be an entirely different person. 
Be any person you choose. It is a moment of 
rebirth. You are neurologically a naked baby. Of 
course you must be careful in choosing your new 
role. How much game-training is involved? You 
cannot decide at once to play center field for the 
New York Yankees or to teach Greek at Harvard. 
You cannot move into a role position in a modern 
twentieth-century power game. You cannot decide 
to move into a status-position or to take over a part 
with high material rewards. But it is exactly this 
sort of position that interests you the least as you 
look down, not-yet-born Olympian God on the 
turmoil and conflict of human life. If you were God 
playfully considering incarnation as a human being, 
would you choose to appear as Lyndon Baines 
Johnson? Or the premier of some European country? 

If ( and when ) you were God, you chose to be re- 
born in the simplest, least gamey, non-power, low- 
status position. And you usually did it barefoot. 
Didn't you? 

It is habit, fear, and laziness that keep people 
from changing after an LSD experience. It's so 
much easier to doubt your divinity, drift back to 
speaking English, wearing ties, playing the old 

My choice in the garden in Tepoztlan at sunrise 
was frighteningly open. Should I go back to the 
twentieth century? 

You doubt the reality of this option? Listen. 
There are millions of Americans in mental hospitals 
right now who have made this choice. Out of 
confusion or frustration or disbelief in the system. 
Psychosis is an ontological state, and the psychotic 
is the person who just won't buy the culture, won't 
play the game. 

And if I chose to leave this Eden and return, 
what terrestrial game shall I play? Which television- 
prop studio shall I enter? Which part to assume? 

I wandered back down the gardens, into the 
house. The living room was empty. It glowed, 
breathed. Glory. Beauty. 

A multi-branched candelabrum was burning. 

June 1962 00 335 

Compelling. Calling. I knelt in front of it and 
watched. The wax had dripped down over the 
wooden branches and into melted carvings. A vine 
of smoke drifted up from an incense stick. 

The room was silent except for the whisper of the 

Then God spoke to me. Not in the English lan- 
guage. Not in words. He spoke in an older dialect. 
He spoke through flame and scented smoke. (But 
He was not the flame and smoke. ) 

I saw in a quick glimpse the design of the 
universe. The blueprint of evolution. The imper- 
sonal, staggering grandeur of the game. 

Think of the auto designers in a Detroit auto 
plant. They architect a car but this living struc- 
ture of God's design is a trillion times more com- 
plex than a car. God's automobile is called the 
atom. Each atom is a structure of detailed intricacy 
held together by energy of such speed and power 
that it eludes our conception. Each atom is a space- 
ship of galactic proportions and at the center of 
each galactic structure God places the entire staff of 
his atomic engineers. Do you understand the bril- 
liance of the design? Suppose that General Motors 
could miniaturize all their designers and engineers 
and technicians so that they were packaged into 
every car that rolled off the assembly line. Continu- 
ously present to insure efficient operation of the 
automobile. Continuously conducting on-the-spot 
performance tests. Continuously collecting data on 
efficiency, comfort, and safety. 

That's the way the atom is constructed with the 
intelligence and control and energy-source all in 
one package inside the nucleus. 

And that's the way the cell is constructed. Every 
cell is an electro-chemical-social system more com- 
plicated than the city of New York with two 
billion years of accurate intelligence-energy-mem- 
ory built into the nucleus. 

God is an expert on miniaturization. The smaller 
the unit, the more central, the older, the wiser, the 
more complex, and the more powerful and faster. 

Individuals of every species are stamped out like 
plastic toys billions at a time. Immediate turn- 
over. Planned obsolescense. Spin them out. Kill 
them off. 

You must be explicit about 
the space-time arrangement 
for your God-game. Each 
room in your home will con- 
tain a shrine. Your house 
will not be a TV actor's 
dressing room but rather a 
spiritual center. Regular 
rhythms of worship will 
emerge; daily meditation 
(turn-on) sessions (with or 
without marijuana), and 
once a week or once a 
month you will devote a 
whole day to tuming-on. 

Time your worship to the 
rhythm of the seasons, to 
the planetary calendars. 

You select a myth as a re- 
minder that you are part of 
an ancient and holy pro- 
cess. You select a myth to 
guide you when you drop- 
out of the narrow confines 
of the fake-prop studio set. 

Your mythic guide must be 
one who has solved the 
death-rebirth riddle. A TV 
drama hero cannot help 
you. Caesar, Napoleon, 
Kennedy are no help to 
your cellular orientation. 
Christ, Lao Tse, Hermes, 
Trismegistus, Socrates, are 
recurrent turn-on figures. 


336 00 Why Come Down? 

From Paradise Lost by John 

The World was all before 


where to choose 

Their place of rest, 

and Providence their guide: 

They, hand in hand, 

with wandering steps and 


Through Eden took their 
solitary way. 


In any case, there is noth- 
ing for you to do in a col- 
lective political sense. 


Discover and nurture your 

own divinity and that of 

your friends and family 

Center on your clan, and 
the natural order will pre- 


This planet is a warm round stone covered with a 
thin layer of rotting bodies of dead organisms. 
Each is a teeming field of decomposition on which 
new layers of brief transient organisms spin out 
their moment of convulsive dance. Sedimentary 
cement cemetery. 

From the standpoint of the isolated individual, 
life is a science-fiction horror story. The nervous 
system mercifully narrows down consciousness so 
that the individual focuses only on the immediate 
stimulus. The individual is shackled to a series of 
reactions to the pressure of food-survival-defense 
and is spared the overview, the insight that while 
he pursues his dinner he is hurtling towards his 
own decomposition. 

There comes a point in every lifetime when the 
blinders are removed and the individual glimpses 
for a second the nature of the process. This revela- 
tion comes through a biochemical change in the 
body. A twist of the protein key and you see where 
you are at in the total process. 

Just as there is only one heaven, so too there is only 
one earth. In the hexagram of heaven the doubling 
of the trigram implies duration in time, hut in the 
hexagram of earth the doubling connotes the solid- 
ity and extension in space by virtue of which the 
earth is able to carry and preserve all things that 
live and move upon it. The earth in its devotion 
carries all things, good and evil, without exception. 
In the same way the superior man gives to his 
character breadth, purity, and sustaining power, so 
that he is able both to support and to hear with 
people and things. ( I Ching II ) 

If this comes to the unprepared person, acciden- 
tally, involuntarily, in the context of a secular game, 
this revelation is shattering and crippling. Our 
mental hospitals are filled with such revelatory 

If the vision comes in a spiritual context to the 
person who is prepared to accept the naked awe- 
full truth then during that exact moment one is 
part of the entire process indeed, one sees that the 
entire process is one. That it is an N-dimensional 

338 00 Why Come Down? 

From the Bhagavad-Gita: 

(Arjuna:) Sri Krishna, if you 
consider me as capable of 
beholding it, then, O Lord 
of yoga, reveal to me your 
imperishable form. 

(Krishna:) Arjuna, behold 
presently in hundreds and 
thousands my multifarious 
divine Forms, of diverse 
colours and different 

But surely you cannot see 
me with these gross eyes 
of yours; therefore I vouch- 
safe to you the divine eye. 
With this you behold my di- 
vine power of yoga. 

Arjuna saw the Supreme 
Deity possessing many 
mouths and eyes, present- 
ing many a wonderful sight 
decked with many divine or- 
naments, wielding many up- 
lifted divine weapons, wear- 
ing divine garlands and 
clothes, besmeared all over 
with divine sandal pastes, 
full of all wonders, infinite 
and having faces on all 

internally unfolding process. Any point from which 
one sees the one-ness is a center. That one point of 
vision is the eye of God, seeing, glorifying, under- 
standing the whole. 

One such moment of revelation is the only pur- 
pose of life. One such moment of vision is the end 
point of the five-billion-year process of evolution on 
this planet. One such moment makes the remaining 
decades of life meaningful and worthwhile. 

The red-yellow eyes of the candles and the direct- 
sweet scent of incense told me this in the sunrise 
living room at Tepoztlan. 

I became initiated into an ancient company of 
illumined seers. I understood the Buddha. I was in 
complete communication with Blake. I was closer 
to St. Augustine, Johannes Scotus Erigena, Jacob 
Boehme, than I shall ever be to any person in 
rational intercourse. 

There exists inside the human nervous system, 
inside our cellular structures a tissued, biochemical 
memory-bank. The person who stumbles onto this 
inner room sees and knows exactly what has been 
seen and known by visionaries in the past. 

Don't talk to me about the objectivity of scientific 
data or replication of observation. Five thousand 
years of visionary experience has produced a body 
of descriptive text of such precision and unanimity 
that even the distortions of multiple translation and 
deliberate academic corruption cannot conceal it. 

Kneeling in front of the candles, trembling in 
reverence, I saw and heard and sensed and became 
a member of an invisible religious fraternity. I 
vowed to dedicate the rest of my life to the preser- 
vation of this flame. From that moment on I would 
no longer be an American, a Harvard instructor, a 
twentieth centurian. I was a visitor to this modern 
artificial stage set. A wanderer among the card- 
board fake-prop studio backdrops. A carrier of the 
ancient message. An itinerant announcer sent from 
central broadcasting. Waiting for the appropriate 
moment to interject the commercial we interrupt 
this program for a brief message. You are all Divine 
wake up! Don't get caught in the studio drama! 

The detailed strategy of the new role was still a 
mystery the techniques of the prophetic profes- 
sion. There was plenty of schooling ahead. 

June 1962 00 339 

But it was to be found. And it was to be found in 
the past. Hindu. Krishna. Gautama Buddha. Siva. 
Ram. Kali. Durga. Lila, Maya. Benares. Hardwar. 
Rishikesh. Himalaya. Brahma. Vishnu. Sankara. 
Ramakrishna. Yoga. Samsara. Karma. Dharma. The 
next step was orientation. 

I turned from the candles and walked to the 
windows. The sun was at a low six-in-the-morning 
angle, just clearing the trees. I stared eastward, 
eyes open. When I closed my eyes two orange hot 
disks were burning up the purple-black webbing of 
my retina. The two glowing orbs changed to yellow 
and then merged into one and sank into the tissue 
of my body. 

After a while Pat and Parsons came out with 
dazed looks. Wow! What happened? Where are we? 

We're in Heaven. Isn't that obvious? 

They nodded. What do we do now? 

Anything we want. The choice was razor clean. It 
depended on our consciousness and on our persis- 
tence. We had the Garden of Eden going. It was 
consensual. We agreed on that. Our situation was a 
social reality as real as the illusion that Mexico City 
existed, or Camel cigarettes. We could stay there 
and continue paradise. Stay high. Keep the thing 
going. Invite others to come join us. A new thing. A 
new cycle. 

It would be so easy to do. As people arrived at 
the isolated villa, just treat them as though they 
had died to all that down there and were reborn 
here. The three of us could do it just so long as 
our commitment did not falter. Just so long as we 
did not slip back into planetary games. Just so long 
as we insisted on treating each arrived friend as if 
he were a newly commissioned god. Turn him on. 

Every social structure is an artifact. An "as-if" 
conspiracy. A "let's-pretend" game. Let's pretend 
we're Americans. Let's pretend green paper is 

Any social game can continue only if all partici- 
pants share in the ontological conspiracy. If people 
won't pretend to accept our reality we kill them 
(American Indians) or imprison them (mental pa- 
tients) or write them off as a nutty sect, cult, or 

The religious cult is a small ontological con- 

If there be the effulgence of 
a thousand suns bursting 
forth all at once in the 
heavens, even that would 
hardly approach the splen- 
dor of the mighty Lord. 

Arjuna, then, saw in the 
person of that Supreme 
Deity, comprised in one 
limb, the whole universe 
with its manifold divisions. 

Then, Arjuna, full of won- 
der and with the hairs 
standing on end, bowed his 
head to the Divine Lord 
and with joined palms ad- 
dressed him thus. 

Lord, I behold in your body 
all gods and multitudes of 
different beings, Brahma 
perched on his lotus-seat, 
Siva and all Maharsis and 
celestial serpents. 

340 00 Why Come Down? 

O Lord of the universe, I 
see you endowed with nu- 
merous arms, bellies, faces 
and eyes and having in- 
finite Forms extended on all 
sides. O Form Universal, I 
see neither your beginning 
nor middle nor end. 

I see you without beginning, 
middle or end, possessing 
unlimited prowess and en- 
dowed with numberless 
hands, having the moon and 
the sun for your eyes, and 
blazing fire for your mouth, 
and scorching this universe 
by your radiance. 

Those hosts of gods are 
entering you; some with 
palms joined out of fear are 
chanting your names and 
glories. Hosts of Maharsis 
and Siddhas saying, 'Let 
there be peace,' are extol- 
ling you by means of the 
very best praises. 

Lord, seeing this vast and 
terrible Form of yours, pos- 
sessing numerous faces and 
eyes, many arms, thighs 
and feet, many bellies and 
many teeth, the worlds are 
terrified; so am I. 

spiracy. A national state, an ethnic group, is a large 
ontological conspiracy. A mutually held paranoid 
system about what is real. 

An ontological conspiracy is a neurological con- 
spiracy. A shared consciousness. Politics, religion, 
economics, social structures, are based on shared 
states of consciousness. The cause of social conflict 
is usually neurological. The cure is biochemical. 

The three of us in the villa at Tepoztlan were in 
that rare position of being able to create a new 
reality. We had the two factors going a neurologi- 
cal liberation. Our game-chessboard had been tem- 
porarily swept clean. And we were in an isolated 
social situation, the villa, where we could external- 
ize our state of consciousness. It's much more diffi- 
cult to start a new reality in the center of an 
ongoing stage set, with all its fierce social pressure 
for its own ontological survival. Don't plant your 
tender new ontology in the center of Times Square 
or St. Peter's Square. 

To start a new reality is, of course, to start a new 

Well, should we do it? Should we commit our- 
selves to our three-fold divinity, to the revelation 
we had received? 

A knock on the door. There was our first test. Our 
first encounter with another consciousness. Three of 
us stood up and glanced at each other. Vase Usted. 
Come in. 

A girl's voice in Spanish Senor! Senor! Lord! 

Open the door. 

It was an Indian girl, teen-age. Agitated. Tearful. 
She scuttled into the room wringing her hands. 
Rapid high-pitched frantic Spanish. 

The family is poor and they have no money. We 
looked at each other questioningly. It was a biblical 
scene. The beggar and the three prophets. 

Ask her what she wants. 

Money for food. 

It was so simple and yet so elusive. The Indian 
girl was trapped in a karma-game which kept her 
hungry in a continent of plenty. She was carrying 
around in her skull the same thirteen-billion-cell 
cosmic computer. 

June 1962 00 341 

Let's invite her to step out of the illusion of the 
Indian village and accept her divinity. 

What are you called? 


Maria, would you like to leave your life as a 
Tepoztlana and stay here? This is paradise. 

Maria's face made a quick animal motion. She 
looked at each of us. Fear, confusion. The emo- 
tional pressure was intense. We were staring at her 
with complete attention. We were completely there 
for her. Radiating love and acceptance. 

Maria fell to her knees and began to sob. It was 
too much. 

Lords, I am a poor girl. My children are sick. My 
parents are sick. Money for food. Money for food. 

I knelt down beside her. Pat and Parsons knelt 
down too. Pure New Testament. The four of us on 
our knees. 

I began to pray in English. Let this girl, Maria, 
receive the vision. Let her escape from her karma. 
Let her find her divinity and join us in creating a 
paradise on this spot. Let her receive the revelation. 

The four of us remained kneeling. I could feel 
the sweat dripping down from my armpits. There 
was a long silence. It seemed so simple. We were so 
close. Just one shift in the vibratory frequency and 
it could click into focus. It seemed tragic that Maria 
should have wandered in ( or been sent? ) at exactly 
this minute and should not make it. It seemed like a 
tragic defeat if she just brushed by the glory and 
returned to her village. 

Maria's discomfort became more visible. She 
began to whimper. I must go back. Help me, 

Parsons looked at me. I shrugged. He pulled 
twenty pesos from his pocket. Maria's eyes 
widened. She reached out a tentative brown hand. 
She took the money and kissed Parsons' hand and 
ran out the door. 

We were silent for a long time. Here was a visitor 
to paradise. And all she wanted was money. 

Later that afternoon a friend of Parsons' came to 
visit. He was a social psychologist from Baltimore. 
Intellectual. Effeminate. He wanted to make small 
talk but Pat opened right up. She began to describe 

Lord, seeing your Form 
reaching the heavens, ef- 
fulgent, many-coloured, hav- 
ing its mouth wide open 
and possessing large shin- 
ing eyes, I, with my inner 
self frightened, have lost 
self-control and find no 

Seeing your faces with fear- 
ful teeth, resembling the 
raging fire at the time of 
universal destruction, I am 
utterly bewildered, and find 
no happiness; therefore, be 
kind to me, O Lord of celes- 
tials and Abode of the uni- 

Bhisma, Drona and yonder 
Kama, with the principal 
warriors on our side as well, 
are rushing headlong into 
your fearful mouths set with 
terrible teeth; some are 
seen stuck up between your 
teeth with their heads 

342 00 Why Come Down? 

As moths rush with great 
speed into the blazing fire 
for destruction, even so all 
these people are with great 
rapidity entering your 
mouths for destruction. 

Swallowing through your 
burning mouths, you are 
licking all those people on 
all sides. Lord, your ter- 
rible brilliance is burning 
the entire universe, filling it 
with radiance. 

Tell me who you are with a 
Form so terrible. My obei- 
sance to you, O Supreme 
Deity; be kind. I wish to 
know you, the primal being, 
in essence; for I know not 
your purpose. 

I am the inflamed Kala 
(time), the destroyer of the 
world. My purpose here is 
to destroy these people. 
Even without you all these 
warriors arrayed in the 
enemy's camp will not sur- 

her vision. She was chanting ecstatic poetry. Songs 
of revelation. Pacing up and down the room chant- 
ing God's message. The radiant stuff of reality. She 
began to sob in joy as she talked completely taken 
by her memories. Beyond social game. A moving, 
naked, preaching, outpouring of prophetic power. 
Parsons and I were transfixed. Completely with 

The psychologist sat on the edge of the sofa 
clutching his glass of rum and Coke. His smile 
weakened. His face fell apart. Disbelief. Disap- 
proval. Then fear. Alarm. Then a robot dart of 
recognition. You've been taking drugs, haven't you? 

Pat turned toward him. The flesh of the gods, 
beloved friend. And you can share our glory if you 
want to. 

The psychologist jumped. Alarm. He put the 
glass down on the coffee table and pushed it away 
from him. He made a show of glancing at his 
watch and jumped to his feet. Well, I must toddle 
off. Just stopped in to say hello. Glad you're having 
a good time. He walked quickly to the door. 

He had just been exposed to the eloquent wit- 
ness, to the passionate, precise testimony and he 
ran away. 

The psychologist had brought into the house a 
nervous, chattering piece of metallic mental ma- 
chinery. Shrieking gears, noisy, jarring. After he left 
we could see the spinning wheel of the afternoon 
weave back golden ribbons through the tears in the 
delicate fabric. 

We resumed our divine dance, effortlessly, time- 
lessly, in tune with the pulse of the house. 

We talked, off and on, about the decision. We 
could phone family and friends back on earth, Hello 
down there. This is Heaven calling. 

Parsons went to the phone. To our surprise it 
worked. Do you think a call will go through? A 
telephone line from heaven to earth. From heaven 
to hell. He began placing a call to the operator. It's 

Hello, Dad. Listen, I've died. Oh, don't be upset. 
I'm in Heaven. It's magnificent. You must come. 
When? Now. How? Well, fly to Mexico City and 
we'll have a limousine drive you to Cuernavaca. 

344 00 Why Come Down? 

You are the Prime Deity, 
the most ancient person, 
you are the ultimate resort 
of this universe. You are 
both the knower and the 
knowable, and the highest 
abode. It is you who per- 
vade the universe, assum- 
ing endless forms. 

You are Vayu (Wind-God), 
Yama (God of Death), 
Agni (Fire-God), Moon-God, 
Brahma, the Creator of be- 
ings, nay, the father of 
Brahma himself. Obeisance, 
obeisance to you a thou- 
sand times; salutations, O 
salutations to you, again 
and again. 

Having seen that which was 
unseen before, I feel de- 
lighted; at the same time 
my mind is tormented by 
fear. Pray reveal to me that 
Divine Form, the Form of 
Vishnu with four arms. O 
Lord of celestials, Abode of 
the universe, be gracious. 

Arjuna, being pleased with 
you, I have shown you, 
through my own power of 
yoga, this supreme, shining, 
primal and infinite universal 
Form, which was not seen 
before by anyone else than 

No. I'm not drunk. No. I feel fine. I've never felt 
better. I'm not trying to upset you, Dad. 

Parsons looked to us and made a sad face. Well, 
let's put it this way, Dad, Pat and I are happy and 
we love you and we miss you and we had this 
impulse to call you and invite you to join us. All 
right, Dad. We'll write. Good-bye. 

The good-bye hung in the air, circling the room 
like a black buzzard. I opened the window and it 
flew out. 

By nightfall the discussion took a more practical 
turn. Parsons began talking about business engage- 
ments in Mexico City. Tomorrow morning at nine. 

Pat and I were in favor of staying, but our union 
with Parsons was so strong that there was no 
question of a difference of opinion. We nodded and 
began to pack. 

It was an eerie scene. Packing bags to leave 
paradise and return to earth. To the hell of people's 
striving minds. None of us was sure that anything 
recognizable existed beyond the villa. Perhaps the 
twentieth century was a figment of our imagina- 
tions. Well, let's find out. We'll stick together and 
love anything we discover. 

We got in the car and the motor started. We 
bumped down the tunnel of trees back into the 
village square. Well, that stage set is still there. 

We turned onto the super-highway which led 
over the mountains to Mexico City. Parsons was 
tired, so I drove. It started to rain. 

We were still high. Everything was seen under 
the species of eternity. Parsons pointed to a car 
pulling a boat. Noah's Ark. Pat, the earth goddess, 
grew cold in the night. We covered her with 

The autostrada is double-laned with white picket 
fences running along the middle and the outside. 

The voyage which usually takes ninety minutes 
was endless. Hour after hour we rolled along. I still 
felt it was a mistake, a betrayal of the command- 
ment, to leave Tepoztlan. The restlessness increased 
as the hours passed. Then, a road sign. Return Gate 
at 500 meters. Well, that's the message. I swung the 
car in a U-turn and headed back. Parsons looked 
up in surprise. Where are you going? I pulled the 

June 1962 00 345 

car over to the side of the road. This highway is 
endless. The sign said return. I guess we are sup- 
posed to go back to the villa at Tepoztlan. 

Parsons began to talk about his appointments in 
Mexico City. 

I reversed and cut back through the gate and we 
continued up the highway. 

Several hours passed. There was no sound except 
the hum of the car motor and the jittery flicking of 
the windshield wipers. Down below I could see the 
lights of Mexico City, but the road kept circling, 
never descending, never getting closer. 

We were trapped. Our consciousness created this 
highway. High way, indeed. Caught in a space-time 
loop. We'll spend lifetimes circling the city. The car 
kept passing landmarks we had passed before. The 
same hairpin turn over and over again. We would 
remain frozen in this time-shelf until an act of 
consciousness broke the cycle. 

How? What to do? It was a science-fiction horror. 
We were caught in a relentless orbit doomed to 
satellite the city in great circles. Perhaps we'll run 
out of gas. No. I looked at the gauge. It had not 
changed for hours. 

Some dramatic shift of direction was necessary to 
break us out of the orbit. I looked over at Pat and 
Parsons for their help. They slept. It was up to 


The only escape was to swerve the car off the 
road. What was a highway anyway, but a fixed 
habit of consciousness? We can't fly because our 
consciousness can't soar up to the possibility of 
flight. Our heavy mental certainty holds us down. 
The only way to fly is to be convinced of the 
certainty of flight. The only way to escape the 
tyranny of the endless highway was to smash 
through the rational-artifactual assumption that we 
had to stay on the road. 

But rapid escape-velocity was required. The car 
must be accelerated to top speed and then (with- 
out my mind deciding), when the orbit-road 
curved, the car would hurtle forward and break out 
of the trap, catapult splintering through the white 

It was so simple. Just wait for the next straighta- 

Arjuna, in this mortal world 
I can not be seen in this 
Form by anyone else than 
you, either through the 
study of Vedas or of rituals, 
or again through gifts, or 
austere penances. 

Seeing such a dreadful 
Form of mine as this, be 
not perturbed or perplexed. 

Having thus spoken to Ar- 
juna, Krishna again showed 
to him in the same way his 
own four-armed form; and 
then assuming a gentle ap- 
pearance, the high souled 
Sri Krishna consoled the 
frightened Arjuna. 

Sri Krishna, seeing this 
gentle human Form of 
yours, I have now become 
composed and am my nor- 
mal self again. 

346 00 Why Come Down? 

Neither by study of Vedas, 
nor by penance, nor by 
charity, nor by ritual can I 
be seen in this Form (with 
four arms) as you have 
seen me. 

Through single-minded de- 
votion, however, I can be 
seen in this Form (with 
four arms), and known in 
essence and even entered 
into, O valiant Arjuna. 

Thus, in the Upanishad 
sung by the Lord, the sci- 
ence of Brahma, the scrip- 
ture of yoga, the dialogue 
between Sri Krishna and 
Arjuna, ends the eleventh 
chapter entitled "The Yoga 
of the Vision of the Uni- 
versal Form." 


way and then jam my foot down on the accelerator. 
Accelerator. What a galactic word! 

It just required the slightest directional compass 
change in the multi-dimensional space structure to 
break free. Only the guardrail kept us from libera- 
tion. Once the flimsy white fence (itself a state of 
mind) was transcended we would spin free, glide 
over the valley of Mexico (as Richard and Jack 
Leary and I did two years before) and look down 
at the volcano-pitted earth surface, or perhaps we 
would shoot out into some new level of conscious- 
ness, some meta-planetary psycho-physical state of 
gravity-free, bird-like, atom-flash, time-less, electric- 
orgasm, telepathic simultaneity. Or perhaps, more 
prosaically, the car would tumble down the cliff. 
Metal twisting, glass shattering, fatal-accident colli- 
sion, skin-severing, bone-crushing, blood-soaked, 
terror-hemorrhaged. But was it not just a test? The 
bogey-monster fear of protecting your sacred baby 
skin. The challenge to your egocentric terror of 
death. How can you reach higher levels of spiritu- 
ality without giving up your fleshly envelope? How 
can you reach God unless you sacrifice your ridicu- 
lous infantile attachment to that hair-covered 
mucus-filled body? Oh no, I was beyond these gross 
concerns of physical comfort and physical safety. If 
the liberation from the heavy weight of the body 
meant a bloody, fracturing, rending of the body, I 
was willing. Thy will be done. 

The car rolled along the endless circular track 
faster and faster. Pat and Parsons slept. I waited 
for the straightaway. My thoughts buzzed around 
the car like busy bees. . . . Relentless orbit. . . . 
Doomed to satellite. . . . Break out of the orbit. 
. . . Fixed habit of consciousness. ... Rapid es- 
cape velocity required. . . . Car must be accel- 
erated to top speed . . . without my mind decid- 
ing. . . . 

What was that? Hold on. Without my mind 
deciding. Then who would give the signal to press 
the accelerator? Was it not my mind spinning out 
its theories of liberation and breakthrough? Was it 
not my mind cunningly inventing escape routes? 
Was it not my mind refusing to trust the process? 

June 1962 00 347 

If we were in orbit, then let us stay in orbit. 
Patiently spinning cold lunar voyagers. Docile. 
Waiting for the next cycle to be introduced. Faith 
in the process. Thy will be done. 

My foot eased off on the gas pedal. 

The highway suddenly began dropping down. 
The white fence was gone and the valley floor of 
Mexico flattened out the road. 

I looked back at the sleeping passengers. Parsons 
stirred and opened his eyes. 

Where are we? 

Back down on the valley floor. I don't know yet 
what planet or what country. 

Oh there's a neon sign. We must be in Mexico. 
It's in Spanish. 

A sign! The first sign. What does it say? 

Servicio total. 

Total service. 

That's why we came back. 

If, reader, I had greater 
space for writing, I now 
would sing, in part, of that 
sweet draught which never 
could have satiated me; 

but inasmuch as I have 
filled the leaves allotted to 
this canticle, the curb of 
art now lets me go no 

From that most holy water, 
I returned made new as 
trees are brought to life 
again with their new foliage 
purified, and made fit for 
mounting to the stars. 


the receptive brings about sublime success, 
Furthering through the perseverance of a mare 
If the superior man undertakes something and 

tries to lead, 
He goes astray; 

But if he follows, he finds guidance. 
It is favorable to find friends in the 

west and south, 
To forgo friends in the east and north. 
Quiet perseverance brings good fortune. 


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